Leipzig via Werdau; a route recommended by the DB representative in their Plauen ticket office. Food first. We’re heading to Maza Pita which is the other side of the park. We follow green and blue on the map. “The canal made Leipzig” says CC. It’s a big drainage ditch (makes me think of a German proverb I can’t pronounce or remember but just know exists because zwei German women recently explained it to me). We reach a reference and CC asks a walker which bridge. This one, this one or this one? This one. Danke!
It’s hot so we walk in the shade of the trees close to the canal drainage ditch. A fork in the path. We ask again; either/or, same/same. We go left and it leads us directly to Industry Street and there’s Maza Pita (we recommend it). At the end of Industry Street, with a little dog leg shimmy should be Spinnerei “undoubtedly a role model for other spaces in Saxony”. There was shade then there wasn’t. We’re exposed to the nuclear furnace fusing in the sky – feel the fucking heat of that thing! Mad dogs and…across another bridge and entschuldigung ask for more directions (course correction).
Plagwitz, familiar territory, under the tracks, this time there’s a big sign on the side of the building that says – The Harris, sorry, Spinnerei – that way with a big arrow. We clock the café closes time. We descend down a set of steep steps into the reception stroke gallery. We ask, we get, the spiel. So, the man in the mill in the corner was the last man standing, in a huge mega massive Fordian factory whilst all around him had fallen into disrepair; broken windows, derelict dance floors etc. Until the facilities managers stepson (an artist) somehow managed to move into an empty, unused space and the rest, as they say, is history.
Spinnerei branding says “…from cotton to culture”. Where else do I know that used to have a cotton industry? It rhymes with Dankeshire. Manchester may have been a neighbour but Preston springs to mind. Inside The Harris (on the 1st floor of the social history section) there is a model of a mill – Horrocks. I used to be in a band that practiced, in a mill (it’s still there, on Aqueduct Street). I used to work for Littlewoods Catalogues, in a mill (it’s still there, on Balcarres Road).
The owners of The Spinnerai are property developers. Their original intent was loft apartments but the bank didn’t lend them the money. Instead, an other natural order spieled out, a pattern re-iterated…artists move in, creative colonisation and, ‘as if’, ‘by magic’, voila! There’s no I scream deal at The Spinnerei but the artists seem to be getting a fair affordable deal. The call centres, commercial galleries and art suppliers also sited in the complex pay more so there’s a symbiotic socialism at work. It’s possible that the owners could sell up at any time; the value of their asset has undoubtedly risen – a once dark and satanic mill complex is alive again. There are enough artists across the spectrum, of all creative creeds, to keep a Fish n Chip Shop, or a falafel shop, or two, busy, lunch, tea and supper. Maybe the cultural capital is greater than the capital.
Supported by a bursary from a-n The Artist Information Company.