CentrO Oberhausen at Christmas Time I – Soundwalk from Food Hall “CocaCola Oase” to Entrance at “Platz der Guten Hoffnung”
The CentrO Obehrausen is one of Europe’s biggest shopping and entertainment malls. Opened in 1996, there are now more than 250 shops on 125.000 square metres. A multiplex cinema, the aquarium sealife, a large musical venue and an amusement park compliment what has been called “the new centre of Oberhausen”.
However, the CentrO is a result of structural change. Since 1758 various ironworks had been located at the site and surrounding areas of today’s CentrO. As Gutehoffnungshütte it became one of Germany’s biggest ironworks and machine construction concerns in the 20th century. Its slow dissolution began in the 1980ies, partly as a consequence of the steel crisis. The MAN AG, to which the Gutehoffnungshütte belonged at that time, moved the headquarters from Oberhausen to Munich. The area became an industrial wasteland until British investors proposed to build the CentrO. The sounds of the Gutehoffnungshütte have disappeared for good. Now you hear the sounds of consume and entertainment.
The entire soundwalk is accompanied by the voices and steps of many people, snippets of conversations, coughing, sneezing and laughing, varying music and changing room acoustics as the recordists move through the CentrO. The soundwalk starts at the food hall where you can hear the clattering of dishes and cutlery and chairs being moved. The walk continues past a variety of shops until it passes a snack machine. You can hear someone enter coins into the machine. Using the escalators, the recordists move up one floor and come down again in the elevator. The rattling of the escalators, rustling clothes and shopping bags as well as the doors of the elevator are audible. The walk continues past some more shops. You can hear the sound of a football game transmitted on a screen for a promotional-event. The walk ends close to the bathrooms, where you can hear water and hand dryers.
Sound Recordis: Kathinka Engels
Photographer: Konrad Gutkowski