| Funded Projects IKF, Thematic Application

Das graue Gegenteil

© Sarah Berndt

The graue Gegenteil [The Grey Opposite] is a long-term film and internet project by the Netzwerk X - Für Kunst und Soziales [Network X - For Art and Social Affairs] based in the Ruhr region. It was inspired by a 2016 documentary, Das Gegenteil von Grau  [The Opposite of Grey], by Matthias Coers  and Recht auf Stadt – Ruhr , in which several initiatives and performers from Netzwerk-X took part as interviewees/subjects of the documentary. We were very moved by the portrayal of the positive possibilities, happenings and experiences in the Ruhr region, as well as the austere aesthetic compactness. But we also know its other side, its grey opposite. "Das graue Gegenteil" aims to express this – the negative, the non-compact, the spaces in between. It critically reflects upon these as well as passionately and humorously respecting them. The project is establishing a matrix for a long-term filmed narrative series about the Ruhr region’s grassroots cultural initiatives. The following has emerged:

1) A dramatic basic structure for the cumulative narratives/productions by the actors

2) A website as a geographical representative surface with junctions (RE1+3, A40+42, Rhein-Herne-Kanal, RS1) and a multitude of exits

3) Two pilot films on capturing spaces (motor vehicle, public transport, ship and bicycle travel) in the Ruhr region – also slow films on discussions and reflections, each involving guests

4) Two pilot films on specific locations/initiatives and (also) their problems.


"Das graue Gegenteil" is not the opposite of "Das Gegenteil von Grau" but rather its backside. Like the B-side of an LP. The image of the Ruhr region on the A-side is full of initiatives and subversive energy that needed complementing. Between the islands of colour is the roar of autobahns and over-expensive public transport systems. The critical culture, resistance and subversiveness shown in "Das Gegenteil von Grau" is also rooted in society's haves – at least from the experience of the have-nots. It is often a lack of politicisation of the public life that enables resistance to grow. We want to address these shortcomings which are being responded to by a virulence of colour. "Das graue Gegenteil" is being developed collectively. Joint conceptual and dramaturgical work created "Das graue Gegenteil" and, from the outset, has been a cooperative, artistic and documentary project. This is the basis for its long-term utilisation as a platform for content and aesthetically self-determined, filmed portrayals of artist-groups/initiatives active in the Ruhr region.

Text: Netzwerk X


See the website of Netzwerk X - Für Kunst und Soziales.