Extractivism, the economic philosophy of achieving maximal extraction of raw materials for the purpose of generating energy, has fallen precipitously out of favour in recent years, not least of all for its excessiveness, destructive force and waste intensity. Its severe environmental consequences are being felt worldwide, and the labour conditions in the mining sector often verge on the inhumane. The dangerous and devastating impact of our dependence on resources like oil and natural gas is demonstrated by the current Russian attack against Ukraine. Against this backdrop, the annual Werkleitz Festival, staged at a different venue each year, aims to explore and discuss the worldwide phenomenon of extractivism, and highlight its expansion into the digital realm in terms of “data mining”. The 2023 venue will be Oberwiederstedt Castle in Mansfelder Land – a region with over 800 years of mining history and one of the most important mining regions for copper and silver ore, potash and coal until German reunification.
The centrepiece of the festival will be an exhibition, to which eleven international artists will be invited to present new pieces. Their works will examine extractivistic economics in a global context, investigate mining practices, working conditions and labour conflicts in various places around the world and critically scrutinise the categorisation of living and non-living nature. Through artistic means, the artists shall also advocate for a form of digitalisation, detached from profit-mongering and the incessant development of exploitative strategies. A crucial component of the festival is the cooperation with local organisations, interest groups and stakeholders. The partners are working together to stage excursions, hiking trips, workshops and a film programme. In the lead-up to the festival, the organisers will produce a digital magazine which will be successively expanded with notes, analyses, images and sounds, and invite readers to engage in dialogue.
Artistic director: Daniel Herrmann
Curators: Alexander Klose, Florian Wüst
Artists: Ana Alenso, Mabe Bethônico, Karsten Bott, Viktor Brim, Felicitas Fäßler, Juliane Henrich, Sven Johne & Falk Haberkorn, Stephanie Kiwitt, Barbara Marcel and others
Festival: Novalis-Museum Schloss Oberwiederstedt, Arnstein OT Wiederstedt, Landkreis Mansfeld-Südharz: 16 Jun. – 2 Jul. 2023
Werkleitz Gesellschaft e.V.
06114 Halle (Saale)
T. +49 345 68246-0
F. +49 345 68246-29