Lützi Bleibt! – Lützerath stays!

Incredible violence is happening where people are being displaced and places destroied forever. Despite of a climate catastrophy that is already happening the german governments still allows corporations to enlarge open coal mines like the one called “Garzweiler” close to cologne that is one of the largest in Europe. Twelve villages had to be demolished for it in the past, homes, protected monuments, fertile soil, insects and other creatures, roman excavation sites the whole complexity of a peace of Earth taken out by a huge digger. What remains is a incredibly large and deep whole that seems to be empty but that is actually full of complaints and suffer, of ignored voices of protest. There is a fracture on GoogleEarth were the view of 2009 and 2020 meet each other. On the satellite picture we see the village of Borschemich that stopped existing in 2017 and we see at the same time, more that 100 meters below, the ground of the new coal mine. The next village that should fall is Lützerath were only one farmer was able to stay but that is accompanied now by hundreds of squatters that moved into the abandoned houses and selfmade treehouses. They try to amplify not only the complaining voices of those who are affected locally by displacement but also those who are and will suffer from the massive CO2-Emissions of the coal. Lützerath became a fertile space of complaining, of resistance and of the creation of an alternative sphere in opposition to capitalisms extractivism.

Squatted house in the village of Lützerath that is currently under threat of destruction due to enlargement of the coal mine Garzweiler.

The village of Borschenich (satellite image from 2009) that disappeared 2017 and the open coal mine Garzweiler (satellite image from 2020) in Germany near Cologne. Fracture found on GoogleEarth.


“Beschweren” or “to make heavy”

As a popular way to translate “complaining” into german one finds the word “beschweren” which has a very similar use and meaning but means, literally translated, to make something/someone heavy”. The notion of complaining that revealed so many personal and emotional stories in the context of our Seminar felt like a key to a otherwise hidden box that we all have somewhere. To share a complaint is to open this box partly, to make oneself vulnerable but also to allow strong connections to others. But the act of complaining seems to always be an interaction that transforms both the complainer and the receiver. After a seminar session of listening to a lot of complaints I understood the german word “beschweren” because I acutally felt heavier somehow. To share the burden of a complaint means to carry it together. At the same time it brings relief to the complainer which could be translated to “Erleichterung” in german (what literally means “making light”).

We all want to get rid of our heavy complains – we want to feel light. But with a full box of complaints there is no real lightness.

How could we create spaces of a collective “Erleichterung” without loosing the core of the complaint? How should the complaint be responded to enable “Erleichterung”? How can we find a balance?

Thomas Sarraceno – On Space Time Foam 2012 (Milano)

The artwork by Thomas Sarraceno came into my mind while writing the post but my text has no direct connection to the artists work or texts.