With the joint organisation of “Claiming Common Spaces IV”, PACT Zollverein, Essen and HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts, Dresden join two former large industrial regions in which the relentless overexploitation of natural resources decisively changed society, infrastructure and the environment.
HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts was founded as festival house and academy for musical and rhythmic education according to the visions of Heinrich Tessenow, trailblazer of modern architecture, and music educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze in 1911. As the first cultural centre in Germany’s first garden city, the legendary edifice drew artists from all over Europe to Hellerau, among them Rilke, Kafka, Diaghilev, Van de Velde, Kokoschka, Gropius, Van der Rohe, Werfel, Busoni, Milhaud, Le Corbusier, Nolde, and Stefan Zweig until 1914. In the 1930s, the building was used as Police school and SS barracks, it was later a Soviet barrack and military hospital. The 1990s saw the houses revival through art.
Today, HELLERAU acts as an interdisciplinary and international centre for dance, performance, music, theatre, media art and visual arts. HELLERAU offers spaces for productions, festivals, concerts performances, exhibitions and discourse, cooperates with various regional cultural partners and is firmly connected internationally.
The residency apartments are as unique as opportunities for artistic research, production and encounters. Dresden, with its geography at the borders of Poland and the Czech Republic as well as by its history within Germany, occupies an important East-Western hub. Therefore, one important programmatic aspect deals with the role taken by the arts in trans- formational social processes in Eastern Bloc States after 1989. Other topics deal with neighbourhoods, generations, heritage and remembrance as well as with digital transformation and ecological sustainability. Carena Schlewitt has been artistic director since the season 2018/19.
Since it was founded in 2002, PACT Zollverein has become an initiator, motor, and stage for pioneering developments in the fields od dance, performance, theatre, media, and the visual arts. Situated in the heart of the Ruhr District, the house boasts a nationwide unique working structure which consolidates three key areas of activity addressing regional, national and international social and cultural interests which all contribute to the standing and appreciation of dance and performance as independent art forms.
In its residency program, which is open to artists from around the world, PACT operates as an artists’ center offering space for concentrated working processes. Under the rubric platform, it initiates exchanges between artists, academics, and students from diverse disciplines and promotes critical dialogue and reflection on artistic methodologies and findings. Its third main focus is on presenting an innovative and high calibre stage program featuring premieres, co-productions, and guest performances. In addition, projects take a look at the field of the city space, question the function and effects of the urban realm and design models to collectively shape its urban society. Rather than seeking immediate results, PACT’s work is primarily laid out to make lasting provisions for a plurality of different possible models.