Yacht Kaiserstuhl
Yacht Kaiserstuhl

A project by ECHO HO & LASSE SCHERFFIG

In 2000, the “Kokerei Kaiserstuhl” (an industrial coke plant in Dortmund) became no longer profitable, despite being the most advanced of its kind. Consequently, it was sold and disassembled over several months by 300 Chinese workers. In pieces, it was then shipped to Shandong and rebuilt, advancing China's heavy industry into the 21st Century.


The project “Yacht Kaiserstuhl” references this enormous transfer of material and information, and turns it around. In China, a yacht is constructed from rice straw taken from fields near the new Shandong coke plant. After the yacht is built, it is dismantled again, packed in crates and put on the next container ship bound for Germany, the reverse route that the coke plant had previously taken. On arrival, it is placed in downtown Dortmund where it becomes a reincarnation of the vanished factory. Both the method of transportation and material used for building the yacht, reference the history of the coke plant. In contrast, the (yacht) form alludes to the expectations of a post-industrial society evoked by the structural changes in the Ruhr area. Remarkably, these expectations are very similar in China and in Germany: While with the Kokerei hard and possibly dangerous work has been exported, Chinese workers expect from it something different. Namely a good education for their children and a life with more comfort. In Dortmund, similar expectations manifest themselves in the ongoing construction of Lake PHOENIX – an artificial lake at the site of an abandoned steel plant, which will eventually host a marina.


Download the Yacht Kaiserstuhl info reader (German, English, ~4 MB).

The project “Yacht Kaiserstuhl” references this enormous transfer of material and information, and turns it around. In China, a yacht was constructed from rice straw taken from fields near the new Shandong coke plant. After the yacht was built, it was dismantled again, packed in crates and put on the next container ship bound for Germany, the reverse route that the coke plant had previously taken. On arrival, it was placed in downtown Dortmund where it has become a reincarnation of the vanished factory. Both the method of transportation and material used for building the yacht, reference the history of the coke plant. In contrast, the (yacht) form alludes to the expectations of a post-industrial society evoked by the structural changes in the Ruhr area. Remarkably, these expectations are very similar in China and in Germany: While with the Kokerei hard and possibly dangerous work has been exported, Chinese workers expect from it something different. Namely a good education for their children and a life with more comfort. In Dortmund, similar expectations manifest themselves in the ongoing construction of Lake PHOENIX – an artificial lake at the site of an abandoned steel plant, which will eventually host a marina.

 
August 22nd, 2011: Yacht stolen


Yacht Kaiserstuhl has been stolen from its location at Dortmunder U. Exact circumstances are unclear and charges against person or persons unknown will be filed. It is quite possible that scrap metal thieves have stolen the Yacht in order to stage its re-entry into the global circulation of steel.

Remarkably, this happened almost exactly one year after its arrival in Germany (on August 23rd, 2010).

 
December 18th, 2010: Yacht at Dortmunder U

Yacht at Dortmunder U

Yacht Kaiserstuhl is shown as an istallation in public space at Dortmunder U, Center for Art and Creativity. The center opens its doors on December 18th, together with the finale of RUHR.2010. The building of the Dortmunder U itself is an abandoned urban brewery that now is transformed into a place of culture and art. Yacht Kaiserstuhl is sitting at its side, marking the boundary between an industrial wasteland and its transformation into a post-industrial area.


Yacht at Dortmunder U

Yacht at Dortmunder U

Yacht at Dortmunder U


 
September 16th, 2010: Lake PHOENIX

Yacht Kaiserstuhl at the lake PHOENIX construction site. Deconstruction of the steel plant that used to occupy the area is almost finished and flooding of the lake has begun. Construction of residential areas for the post-industrial era to come is about to begin. Also, the marina is under construction.



 
August 28th, 2010: Reconstructed


Installation at the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (Museum for Art and Cultural History) using a steel frame, 2500 rice straw mats, a deconstructed transport crate and large scale print-outs of Kokerei Kaiserstuhl, Dortmund and its new location in Shandong.


 
August 27th, 2010: Welcome


A small welcome party/performance for Yacht Kaiserstuhl at the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (Museum for Art and Cultural History) in Dortmund.


 
August 27/28th, 2010: Reconstruction


Reconstructing Yacht Kaiserstuhl was carefully planned and prepared in China. All parts were marked and all necessary tools (from wrenches to thread, scissors and needles) were included in the Yacht crate.


 
August 27th, 2010: Arrival in Dortmund


Today at 9 a.m., after five weeks on the ocean (and some days in customs) Yacht Kaiserstuhl reached Dortmund. It was delivered to the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (Museum for Art and Cultural History) where it is taken from its crate and reconstructed.


 
August 24th, 2010: Vandalism


 
August 23rd, 2010: Arrival in Hamburg


Today, Yacht Kaiserstuhl arrived in Hamburg. It is unloaded, taken from its container and to our forwarding agency and then has to go through customs (as an 97030000).


 
August 20th, 2010: Kampstraße, Dortmund


While Yacht Kaiserstuhl still is on the Atlantic Ocean, an exact replica of its transport crate has been placed in public space on Kampstraße in Dortmund. Through a peephole, a film is visible that connects the sites of Kokerei Kaiserstuhl and its new Chinese home using film, photography, laser-cut satellite images text and sound. The Bill of Lading is attached to the crate as well as a container tracking search result, revealing its transport schedule.

Placed on Kampstrasse, the crate also constitutes a teaser for the exhibition Heavy Matter inside the nearby Westfalenforum.


 
August 14th, 2010: Suez Canal


Today Yacht Kaiserstuhl on its freighter Tsingtao Express has reached the Suez Canal. Dortmund is getting closer.

Photo quotet from wikimedia.

 
August 12th, 2010: Transport Details

A container search using NYK container tracking reveals that Yacht Kaiserstuhl is in a container named NYKU5802841, a 40 ft high-cube container. It consumes a meagre 4 cubic meters of its 68 cubic meters capacity.

Photo quotet from occontainer.com

 
July 23rd, 2010: Route confirmed


The final route has been confirmed. Navigate it online.

 
July 20th, 2010: Bill of Lading/Konnossement


The Bill of Lading (Konnossement) "is a document issued by a carrier to a shipper, acknowledging that specified goods have been received on board as cargo for conveyance to a named place for delivery to the consignee who is usually identified. [...] A bill of lading can be used as a traded object." The Bill of Lading hence forms an (comparably) immaterial signifier for the freight (Yacht Kaiserstuhl in this case) itself.


 
July 20th, 2010: Qingdao/Shandong


After its Korean detour, the Yacht comes back to Shandong by stopping at the harbour of Qingdao.

 
Background: Qingdao as a Colony

Long before Shandong became the new home for Kokerei Kaiserstuhl, Qingdao (Tsingtao, the harbour of the Shandong region) had a German history. Being a German colony, the region was used as a source of coal for the East Asia Cruiser Squadron. The coke oven hence continues a colonial tradition while at the same time breaking with it - as today, the oven has Chinese owners and the interrelations of power are less obvious (but probably have never been).


The famous Tsingtao (and former Germania) Brewery is one leftover of colonial Qingdao.


cf. Gerorge Steinmetz: "Qingdao as a colony: From Apartheid to Civilizational Exchange." Paper prepared for a workshop in January, 2009, on the topic "Science, Technology and Modernity: Colonial Cities in Asia, 1890-1940," sponsored by the Department of History of Science and Technology at Johns Hopkins University.

 
July 17th, 2010: Arrival Busan


In Busan, Korea the Yacht is transfered onto the freighter "Tsingtao Express" which will be its carrier until Hamburg. Of course, Tsingtao (Qingdao) is in Shandong.

 
July 16th, 2010: Boarded!


After being delayed for several days the package finally has been shipped! The carrier "Stadt Koeln" has left Tianjin and is bringing the Yacht and its container to a Korean harbour, where it is transferred to another ship.

 
Background: Lake PHOENIX

Lake PHOENIX will be a lake in the city of Dortmund built at the site of an abandoned steel plant.


Visualization of "leisure at lake PHOENIX" quotet from auf-phoenix.com

Photo quotet from phoenixseedortmund.de

 
Late June 2010: Ready for shipping

Yacht frame and straw are crated for shipping. The package of 210x210x90 cm will share a container with other goods (LCL, Less than Container Load) and travel with the stream of containers from China to Germany.

 
June 2010: Deconstruction

As Kokerei Kaiserstuhl in 2004, Yacht Kaiserstuhl after completion is deconstructed.


Parts are marked with Chinese letters which then are mapped to Latin letters for reconstruction in Dortmund.



(click to enlarge)

 
June 14th, 2010: Phytosanitary regulations

For dried rice straw phytosanitary regulations do not apply.

Sehr geehrter Herr Lasse Scherffig,
Da es sich bei den Reisstrohmatten um getrocknete Reispflanzen handelt, ist die Einfuhr nicht von phytosanitären Regelungen betroffen.

 
June 2010: Yacht frame finished



 
June 2010: Constructing the steel frame




 
May 20th, 2010: Harmonized System Code

The Harmonized System Code (Statistische Warennummer/Zolltarifnummer) for Yacht Kaiserstuhl is 97030000: Original sculptures and statuary, in any material

 
May 2010: Straw mat fabrication


In Shandong, rice straw is sewed into straw mat pixels of 20x20 cm.



 
September 21st, 2009: Shandong

Coke Oven Shandong

Visiting the re-constructed coke oven in Shandong, China. It is surrounded by rice fields.


Coke Oven Shandong Aerial View

 
Background: Kokerei Kaiserstuhl


The documentary Loosers and Winners by Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken portrays the process of the deconstruction of Kokerei Kaiserstuhl, following German and Chinese workers over several months. There also is a comprehensive newspaper report on the transfer process, written by Stefan Willeke for Die Zeit: Herr Mo holt die Fabrik. Economy magazine brand eins portrayed Wei Luan, founder and managing director of FAMOUS Industrial Group GmbH - the company handling the transfer of Kokerei Kaiserstuhl - in an article written by Hilmar Poganatz: Der Entrümpler (PDF, 720 kB).

 
July 9th, 2009: Kokerei Kaiserstuhl Dortmund

Visiting the area of the former Kokerei Kaiserstuhl in Dortmund.

Marks on the wall

Chinese signs still mark parts of the structure for deconstruction and shipping.