The Atlas of the in-between
Hannah Hiecke

Germany is internationally renowned for its investments in renewable energy. But there is a down side: to sustain its economic position and its independence from Russian gas or Arabic oil the country has become more dependent on brown coal as a major source of energy.

At a speed of 2,3 cm per hour the brown coal mining hole Garzweiler II ‘wanders’ through the landscape of the North Rhine Westphalia region. Everything has to give way to the extraction of brown coal, up to 4.800 hectares until 2045. Ecological systems and social entities are put under enormous strain. 

The Wandering Hole researches the practices and consequences of brown coal mining. The 1995 approval of the project Garzweiler II started a long-lasting process of transformation for 15 historical towns, about 7.000 re-settlers and nature. Inhabitants have to deal with the consequences on a daily basis. They live in an in-between condition.

Garzweiler II is still moving ahead today, despite a growing public concern. Yet, it remains unclear how far the mining hole will wander. Germany’s federal government has the final say on this. The issue of mining and its repercussions is not only topical within Germany. Similar issues arise worldwide where national energy policies collide with regional and individual interests.

Graduation project, 2015

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