High above the historic
For nine days some 350 large yellow helium balloons hung up to 80m high in the sky above former pit sites. The aim of the spectacular art installation was to demonstrate the change the region has undergone for all to see and experience. “PitSigns”, however, also recalled the roots of the Ruhr region: the balloons marked those places where coal was once discovered and mined – upon which the industrialisation, migration, development and commercial wealth of the Ruhr is based.
Even the RWE offices in the Altenessener Straße were marked by a yellow helium balloon 80 metres up. The site, which these days holds various office buildings belonging to RWE, hides a long industrial history. Until 1965 it was the location of the Stinnes Victoria Mathias coal mine - for no less than 125 years. RWE erected its first power station in the direct vicinity in 1898, which supplied electricity until 1969 and subsequently district heating too.
The "PitSigns" were on display from 22nd to 30th May 2010. On two evenings the 350 balloons received special treatment and floated illuminated in the night sky above the Ruhr conurbation. The balloon project was accompanied by a public exhibition on Victoria Mathias, the history of the site and company.