Archive for February 20th, 2022

Mishima/ Closing


Zeche Zollverein

Wasn’t sure what I would write about this morning. I came across a performance of a favorite Philip Glass piece, one from his soundtrack of the film Mishima, that I was going to use for this week’s Sunday Morning Music selection. It was performed by a saxophone quartet, the Multiphonic Quartett.

I was intrigued by the setting for their performance. It was some sort of industrial building with gray concrete walls and these strange, huge inverted pyramid structures hanging from the high ceiling. At first glimpse, I thought they might be in some sort of experimental recording location and these were some type of acoustical structures that moved or enhanced the sound.

The more I watched the video, the more intrigued I became. Looking through the details I saw that the location was Zeche Zollverein. Doing a little research I found that it was once one of the the largest coal mines and coking plants in Europe, located near Essen, Germany.

It was a marvel of industrial architecture and the shaft shown in the photo at the top, Shaft 12, is considered the most beautiful coal mine in the world. It has been out of service since 1986 and the complex has been transformed into a massive cultural/arts center for the region. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. I have included a video below that shows a bit of the complex.

Those inverted pyramids turned out to be huge chutes that fed coal into the processing plants where t was transformed into coke used for steel production.

There’s no doubt a lot more to be said about the place but I thought I would pass on some basic info. I like the idea of transforming industrial sites that are potential eyesores into something beautiful and useful. It certainly makes an interesting setting for the Glass piece.

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