At the beginning of March, stadt.land.text regional writer Charlotte Krafft had to break off her residency in Münsterland due to illness and corona. She has now been back since mid-May, her first stops: Dülmen and Warendorf. In the interview, she talks about the bustling cultural scene in the countryside, aching bicycle saddles and the relationship between nature and culture.
What was it like for you to have to leave your residency early in March?
To be honest, I was thinking less about my residency and the project at the time and more about my health. And after my illness or during the convalescence phase, I was quite happy to be with my family and friends. The regret came later, when I was feeling better, but I didn't dwell on it for long, but tried to make the best of the situation.
How did you deal with the Münsterland from your home in Berlin?
Yes, this making the best of the situation consisted, on the one hand, of an appeal to the people of Münsterland to help me get to know the region, through suggestions, hints, stories, etc. That was quite fruitful. That was quite fruitful. I also did a lot of research, especially online. I was particularly taken with the brochure "Preserving Cultural Landscape Development in the Münsterland" by the LWL and the documentation "Münsterland Park Landscape 2.0" on the Regionale 2016. Sounds dry, it is! But nevertheless interesting, once you have started to deal with the topic of landscape development and planning. In the documentation, for example, Hermann Grömping writes and pretty much sums up what I also try to say in my texts:
"One must be clear that the annex lists of European directives cement a historical snapshot in landscape history and ignore the constant coming and going of species. As long as the social consensus wants it and the momentum of populations allows it, the generational contract holds. However, development is hardly conceivable without dynamics. The dynamisation of systems would be possible without compromising European nature conservation goals."
What response has your online appeal received?
A total of thirty-five messages landed in my inbox, not including spam. In the meantime, I was almost a bit overwhelmed by the amount of ideas and hints that reached me. But I also had the ambition to think about each of these ideas and hints, to consider whether and how I could use them - whether it was strawberry jam, women's shooters, weed-killing field robots or the Oelde Pentecost wreath. And of course I wanted to at least reply to everyone who wrote to me. Some of them now get in touch with me every now and then when they think of something else or have found out something new. And with one older lady, I have even developed something like an e-mail friendship.
Even though I can't use everything that has reached me directly in literature, a picture has slowly come together from these various impressions, whereby this picture is relatively heterogeneous. But there are also, I have noticed, some commonalities: For example, I noticed that many Münsterlanders emphasise the low AfD numbers in the region. In addition, people here are obviously very proud of the rich cultural offerings, for which there are plenty of reasons. I don't know of any other region where every little poop town (excuse me) has its own cultural centre with sometimes really interesting projects and offers, and where somehow almost everyone is artistically active in their own way.
Berliners or city dwellers in general tend to have a certain arrogance towards rural areas. Art and culture outside urban centres can only be uninteresting because it is provincial, old-fashioned and conservative. The artistic avant-garde lives in the city. Most city dwellers are probably not even aware that there is more going on in the "countryside" than pottery classes and Window Colour art. But, and this will probably please the project organisers, readers, everyone here now, but I swear, I swear, it's not lickspittle, I've also talked about it with my Berlin friends*: Once you start to open up to what is happening here culturally, this attitude changes very quickly and you ask yourself: who is actually the backwoodsman or backwoodswoman here?
How are you doing now that you are back in the region?
I'm fine, apart from the fact that my backside still hurts enormously because the saddle of the rented bike is extremely hard and I rode over 30 kilometres on it the other day, and then at least ten every day, which is something I'm not used to at all because I hardly ever ride a bike in Berlin - among other reasons because I think bikes are dangerous, both for cyclists and pedestrians - one once hit me in the face. But new places call for new habits - so now I cycle, with pleasure even, actually, if it weren't for this saddle.
Besides, it's a bit difficult for me to concentrate on a topic and give it a literary form, because more and more impressions and information and possibilities are accumulating. The other day, as I said, I cycled over 30 kilometres, first through the Dülmen Wildlife Park and then to Senden Castle, and from there to Buldern and finally back to Dülmen by train. On this ride, I actually wanted to collect impressions for a very specific text, but I kept getting distracted by new ideas and pictures that didn't fit into this text at all. By the way, you can now read the text on the blog .
Where are you going in the next few weeks of your residency?
On Monday (25.05.2020, editor's note) I moved to Warendorf. I'll definitely be visiting the Ems meadows and, of course, the old town. On Friday, there will be an excursion to the ghost village of Morschenich and the Hambach Forest with the other scholarship holders from stadt.land.text NRW and staff from the cultural offices. And otherwise I'll cycle around a bit and let myself be surprised.
What topics are you currently working on?
At the moment I am particularly interested in the relationship between nature and culture in the so-called park landscape of Münsterland and the care for natural and cultural monuments, or monuments of nature culture as Donna Haraway would say, whom I am currently reading. Such care, as Hermann Grömping, whom I quoted above, also states, takes place always and everywhere, but in the Münsterland especially in the area of tension between proximity/care/progress and distance/protection/conservation. I find this field of tension, yes, exciting! That's why I'm currently working quite extensively on landscape developments of the past and coming decades, for example on how ramparts were built in the past, which were later levelled in the course of land consolidation and have recently been reconstructed.
After you have made contact online, you can now get to know the people of Münsterland live and in colour. Who have you met so far?
Last week I already met with the former head of the department of culture, Hans-Peter Boer, and presented him with my catalogue of questions on the development of the cultural landscape in the Coesfeld area. This week I will probably sit down with Hermann Grömping.
I also met the artist Carsten Lisecki in Berlin, and I'm sure I'll run into him again. I'd like to ask the chordionist Anja Kreysing about her bunker and benefit from her expertise in the field of Spökenkiekerei.
Otherwise, there are many people who interest me. But who I will meet apart from those mentioned depends on various factors, for example, also on chance, opportunities, but also on which text ideas I pursue further and which questions and interests or ideas arise from them.
How do you get from A to B?
By bike and public transport. A few times my friendly landlords have also driven me to the station.
What are you looking forward to most?
The aurochs in the Emsauen.
Can the people of Münsterland support you in any way? Or can they meet you somewhere, see you?
At the moment I have too much material rather than too little. What I still lack, however, is information about Spökenkieker and concrete Spökenkieker stories. I want to know how these stories sound or sounded, what characters and motifs were in them and so on. Because I might want to write one myself. So, if you have a few stories in store or know something about the people with the second face - let me have them!
It's rather difficult to meet at the moment. However, there are already some ideas for possible online and maybe even live-with-distance readings.
The interview with Charlotte Krafft can be used editorially in full or in excerpts.
Charlotte Krafft's "route" arises spontaneously. If you would like to be informed when the regional writer is in your area/place, please contact Eva Stannigel (02571 94 93 04, email@example.com) or Mareike Meiring (02571 94 93 34, firstname.lastname@example.org).