For 15 years, the ibug collective has been able to manage the balancing act between culture, internationality and dialogue, and between urban and rural areas. The Industriebrachenumgestaltung – ibug in short – has become a world-famous urban art festival. Until 2011, the ibug took place at abandoned brownfields in Meerane, Saxony. It was then organised in Glauchau in 2012, in Zwickau in 2013, in Crimmitschau in 2014, in Plauen in 2015, in Limbach-Oberfrohna in 2016, in Chemnitz in 2017 and 2018 and in Reichenbach/Vogtland in 2019.
The team includes artists, art historians, art educators and employees of public cultural institutions, who have been committed to providing rural areas of Saxony with colour and internationality for years. The involvement of the regional population and the reappraisal of the town’s industrial history are an important part of it. Meanwhile there is a lot of experience in the sensitive dialogue between local people and international audiences. The ibug has grown over the years and meanwhile attracts more than 35,000 visitors. Every year, more than 450 artists from all over the world apply to be part of the Festival.
The ibug is not a white cube that stands clean in a white room and is contextualised by university graduates as though to serve the dessert to a full audience. The team is up to date, it is available to the local people and deliberately enters an abandoned brownfield in order to build something together that approaches the utopia of a better world. In every corner, you can feel the signs of the past through sentences, pictures, tools and other things that are left behind. Using a little sensitivity and imagination, the images of those who had worked there for decades come to life. This is very inspiring, as the premises and the surroundings play a vital role in creating this microcosm amid this dirty and ruinous building, tearing down walls and roofs, removing waste and rubbish, and building paths. Local people and volunteers from nearby cities help changing the brownfield. Existing conditions are rearranged instead of using empty space.
The ibug considers itself an interface between art and society. By combining art, dialogue and industrial history, we realise a vision that creates opportunities for inspiration, conversation and adventure. It´s important to ensure the brownfield and its history gaining centre stage again and face up to the emotions that people feel when they enter the site after they had worked there for often 40 years or more, watched its decay and experience the change now. It so much joy to see the people’s amazement, both of new ones and of those who have visited the ibug for years. The artists create art that results from the environment. Therefore, the open dialogue on equal terms in art, with artists, with the environment, different eras and material, and in the community is very important to the Team. The ibug asks both to relax and to build new connections. It is an interdisciplinary, performative and offensive festival.
It is committed to sustainability by cooperating with regional partners and producers, offering vegetarian and vegan food, dealing with redesign concepts of run-down industrial structures, and organising workshops on the topic of creative industries in rural areas.