“Das Siegburger Statttor” – “The city gate in Siegburg”
The City of Siegburg near Cologne (Germany) is a medieval town full of history. Since around 1300 the village has been famous for its pottery. On some old paintings you find represesentations of the typical jugs and vases from Siegburg.
The old town was surrounded by a fortification with walls and gates. Due to the expansion of the city, Siegburg has lost this city wall and thus many landmarks.
In 2010 I was invited to offer an art intervention in the city as part of an art festival.
My idea was to rebuild a city entrance with water. It should be located in the exact position of one of the medieval gates. The connection water – Siegburg also should reflect the need of water in the production of earthenware. On one side you need water to work with clay, on the other side the pottery from Siegburg was the first burnt at high temperature and thus able to hold liquid in a good and stable way (water proof).
The Offer – the art intervention
The Mühlengraben ditch is an offer to the water of the Sieg river to find its way through the town of Siegburg. This benefit of the city in ancient times also deserves attention today. I will build a city gate made of water. It is fed by the water of the Mühlengraben. The water will be flying in an arc over the footbridge and then pour, enriched with oxygen, into the Mühlengraben again in flow direction.
People will perceive the water. We will pay attention to the water. It welcomes us as we are entering the inner city.
I would like to remind the people of the role water played for the town and its inhabitants. As a temporary intervention this city gate should be constructed for the duration of a weekend in the summer of 2010.
The water jet is generated from several large water pumps, which are built on the edge of the bridge. The water is taken from floating overflows (to protect the fish) upstream the bridge and is led through hoses to the pumps. Of a bent metal tube, The water jet is flying out of a bent metal tube in a high arch across the bridge. The outlet of the metal tube will be calculated in a way that the water jet remains compact until re-entering the Mühlenbach (minimizing the spray).
Due to the expected noise from pumps and water jet ( re-entry ), operation shall be limited to the day and early evening. As a power source for the pump green electricity is to be provided.
For safety and security, the pumps are operated only in the presence of qualified personnel. An emergency stop button allows instant stop. From an environmental perspective it has to be ensured that only existing materials and tools will be used.
Course of the project
From my perspective, it is useful first of all to ensure the feasibility of the project and obtain the consent, and, if possible, support of all parties. After this the project should be presented to the public in a press conference and the press response should be used to actively reaching out to sponsors. Citizens with interest in the Mühlenbach are highly welcome to add their own ideas to the project.
In Germany the so-called lower water authorities are responsible for small rivers and creeks. The mayor of the city verified and supported the implementation of my art intervention, the organizers of the art festival anyway. The lower water authority rejected the implementation, because the oxygen-enriched water would disturb the fish in the creek. Up to now, the project is pending.