Video installation, 2010
Haluk Köker is an ex-coal miner, who has lived in Hamm, Germany almost all his life. After working 35 years at a coalmine, Köker decides set up Germany’s biggest coal mine museum, with a 5 million euro investment. Yet, this museum is very different than other coalmine museums in the region, as it involves no objects or photographs, but people. Köker says he will employ 4.000 retired miners and have them tell their memories to the visitors.
Memory Museum is a work about Germany’s industrial Ruhr region, once serving as the backbone of German economy. From the hundreds of coalmines only a few are left today. As the officials decide to turn the closed mines into cultural sites or museums, the region’s policy shifts from coal to culture industry. Yet, Eğrikavuk wonders; what about the Turkish immigrants, how will they find their places in this new sector?
The half-fictional video is written by Işıl Eğrikavuk. Haluk Köker, both as a coal-miner in his real life and as an actor in Eğrikavuk’s video, answers her questions.