Focus City/Country in Flux

Grafik Stadt Land
© Julia Praschma

City and country: In recent years, both have returned to the collective consciousness as major contrasts. While city dwellers have settled into their renovated old buildings or factory lofts, cappuccino cafés with industrial lamps, community gardens, and yoga studios, country dwellers are drawn to the country house, with fireplace, garden fence, red wine, and a good book.

Both clichés fall flat as soon as authors start writing novels set in villages, or when they press rural and urban into lyrical lines.

So let's go there. Let's draw more complex pictures of urban and rural coexistence than those presented in magazines... Where are the contrasts strong? Where do they blur? Where is the urban neighbourhood much more village than a village? Where is the marketplace in the county seat urban? Who goes from the country to the city in the morning? And who - vice versa - goes to the village for peace and quiet, only to stand on the main road in the evening, after work, and enjoy the noise and dust of the urban? How binding or mendacious or complicated are communities here and there? Does the city transmit modern ideas to the village? And is the countryside always more down-to-earth and - yes! - more authentic in return?

Fortunately, Hülshoff Castle and the Rüschhaus are located exactly in the intermediate zone between town and country. That's exactly why they can be a forum for exchange; because people will meet here for whom city and country have long since merged. Until a village says, "We are urban for the surrounding area." (Saša Stanišic)