Wednesday 8 May 2013

right-bank or borderlands

Although the borough of Kastel (nรฉe Mainz) is the most contested concession of the Palatinate to the State of Hessen, there are other communities, which I discovered taking a long stroll along the banks of the Rhein and into the industrial areas. Collectively, the annexed townships are referred to as the A.K.K. Konflikt—for Amรถneburg, Kastel and Kostheim, and inter-bellum, the buffer between the People’s Republic of Hessen and the Prussian hold-out of Hessen-Nassau. The neighbourhood that I explored, Amรถneburg, fronts the river with an array of chemical and cement factories, whose founding has its own history that is parallel but also independent of the zoning and redistricting.
 I know that Germany’s waterways are carefully placed powerhouses but there’s always quite an abrupt contrast, just down river from more palatial scenes. There’s a factory in my neighbourhood too—for bottling champagne (Sekt) which is consistently stinkier than these industrial plants.
Of course there’s more to this community than just the factories, which I want to discover, but it does cast an impressive skyline. One cement concern with a large footprint, complete with green spaces and several foundations for the good of the community, made an exact copy of a Mithra stone, a Roman mystery cult with Persian roots from late antiquity found in the area—namely in Neuenheim-Heidelberg.
 I wonder if the spread of such iconography was not intentional with this relic. Business is yet vibrant but I still do ask whether there is not some lazy, economic compunction towards making this activity, for the uninitiated, an exercise in out-sourcing.
What do you think?
 There is certainly the prevailing not-in-my-backyard mentality, coupled and in contrast with the hopes for local engagement. Are such monuments to production, however carefully negotiated and managed with respect for aesthetics and the environment, something flagging and out-moded? Enterprise, being what it is, is hardly a clean matter but the rust-belts and relics created once production is out-sourced, shifted elsewhere by enterprising minds hoping to realise greater profit and more flexibility, do not bespeak good governance nor agility either.