CYCLE OF STEEL
We follow the tracks of very different people who have a very close connection to the city and the steel mill. Entire city districts, such as Bindermichl or Frankviertel in Linz were once built, similarly to Gary, for the purpose of providing housing and living environment for the workers in the steel mill. For an outsider, this appears to be the only reason for the existence of the city district, while the residents have their very personal stories and destinies which they will tell us about.
The city of Gary also changes visibly. Where only a few years ago, demolished and abandoned buildings dominated the city scape, new streets with new houses and town house complexes are built. The problems are shifting but sustainable solutions are slow to come. Unemployment continues to be high and the families are without prospects. Despite the ambitious efforts by the city, many families continue to move away from a city with a high crime rate.
The documentary shines the spotlight on individual cases that intermix with the sequences, which grapple with the continuum of the city, to a temporally detached pattern.
Basis for the project is the development of the two cities Gary, Indiana, in the US and Linz in Upper Austria.
The influence of steel has shaped both cities. They follow the cycles of the industry and its companies.
While Gary, in the US also called “Steel City,” saw its heyday in the first half of the 20th century, Linz has been transformed into a modern and prosperous city particularly during the last few decades. Today, Gary is almost deserted. Due to the migration of the steel industry, particularly US Steel, the founder of which, Elbert H. Gary, also gave the city its name, the city’s economic life has practically stagnated. Abandoned factory sites and demolished residential homes dominate the city scape.
By contrast, in Linz, high-rises are built, city district are systematically gentrified, and cultural institutions erected. Sequences designed as endless loop let both cities merge. A metamorphosis of visual and acoustic ramifications, the architecture of decay, and the regeneration of both cities. What happens at the end of a cycle which has influenced the people in the region and has initially brought life to said region?
The old steel city and the new concept. We project the cycle of the steel industry from rise to fall onto one single day and reflect the metaphysical dramatization of the images of both cities:
Ruins – budding city – thriving city – aging city. The cycle is the driving force.
Gary, population approximately 80,000, is a city in the Northwest of the US state of Indiana. Shaped by the decline of the steel industry, Gary finds itself today in a structurally and financially precarious situation. Gary was founded 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation as location for the new steel mill Gary Works. The development of Gary is closely linked to the US steel industry. Its growth brought prosperity to the city. In the 60s, Gary’s development, like many other US cities, depended on a single industry and the city was pulled into an economic downward spiral. Gary suffered particularly from the increasing competitiveness of the steel production outside the United States which resulted in numerous layoffs by U.S. Steel in the region around Gary.
Linz is a small city in the Northwest of Austria. Due to the steel mill established during World War II, Linz, in the course of time, has developed into a prominent economic center in Austria. Steel exports helped establish Linz as one of the the steel cities of Central Europe. Today, its high quality steel is used worldwide.
The documentary is intended to be shown on international festivals as well as on TV and will be distributed on DVD/Bluray.
Length: approximately 60 minutes
Original languages: German and English