Industrial Ghost Stories 2019
Group tours, stories and augmented reality
"Accompany the artist on an excursion full of magic and emotions - a taxi ride that brings ghost stories to life in the ruins of Cologne's famous auto industry. The streets become a theater, the abandoned warehouse a lifeline; rundown factories are bustling with movement and sound; Ghosts fly around ... thirst for adventure, excitement of discovery, magic of fantasy. Abner Preis leads you along empty factory buildings, along gentrified areas with condominium construction sites, along dilapidated parking garages and old-school car washes."
INDUSTRIAL GHOST STORIES focused on the influence of the motor vehicle industry in Cologne. In the district of Mülheim-Deutz, Germany’s industrial history was written. Here, approximately 33,000 people manufactured motors, machines and industrial equipment at the end of the 19th century.
After a wave of outsourcing labour during the neoliberal peak in the 1980s, the industrial buildings of the car industry in Cologne partly got dismantled. Abandoned fabrics provided the perfect ambience for the techno scene and artists that took over the area.
In a relatively small area, surrounded by former industrial sites and flanked by colossal new construction developments, artist and storyteller Abner Preis took on the role of a city guide. In a rather popular scientific manner, he associated the past with the present, pointing out concrete illustrations that made politically driven transitions and the ongoing gentrification in Deutz-Mulheim tangible. Preis brought out the ghosts of the past by combining classical storytelling with augmented reality. Stories got activated in virtual environments that highlighted aspects of the local history: from the 24-hour roaring machines and hard-working factory laborers during industrialization, as well as the grievous history of the forced labour that took place in the motor factory during WOII, to the Turkish migrant workers’ uprisings in the Ford factories in the 1970s, and the notorious techno parties that filled the empty halls with underground energy in the 1990s.