The Open Story of Resita’s Industrial Patrimony Art Festival

(The exclusive festival story is emphasized in bold letters in the text below to stand out. The rest is a self questioning mystery story. It is also an open invitation for people and artists from all over the world to come to Resita and create.)

Jump to the Summary in Romanian

The motto of the story: Life is goal driven, from what is to what might be. (Mihai Nadin)

The motto of the festival: Resita will also be goal driven, from the derelict industry to the healing and miraculous power of art and life.

A Story of the Story

Usually Friday evenings, my elder boy, who is now 16 years old, goes out with his friends and colleagues from school. He is a good boy and he lets his mother know when he returns later than normal. She tells me too. I go to sleep early and also wake up during the night. Then, if I have new ideas, I write them down. However, on Fridays, I am also checking my boy's room to see if he is home.

So I wrote this story for my boy and for my (younger) brothers, who in my real life don't exist, this being one of my biggest regrets. Now I imagine we are just separated by life, and through a fortunate accident, we had the chance and joy to meet. And, as an elder brother, I wanted to teach them what can't be taught: life itself.

However, my hope is that they'll read even what I didn't write, and so they'll better discover themselves and equally the joy to meet one of their elder brothers. And "interacting with their mind, sensitivity and soul", they'll also notice I already met (some of) my elder brothers, who are and will be their brothers too. From now on till forever.

Resita: Tarkowskian Atmosphere at the Frontier of the Future?, the Present and the Past

Aren't you curious to see more? We reveal a visual depiction of the mystery. For "even more", you have to read the mistery story below. And even that, it’s far from being enough.

A Mistery Story

It was notorious that Mr. Izvercian had assumed the role of the "college cleaner" during the freshman year, his exam of mathematics analysis being very hard. It happened that I was in a group where he taught the seminar too. I liked, among the many conventional content, that he was throwing some other "provocations", often aspects that were still not clarified in mathematics. He never asked such things for the exam, it was just for captivating our interest. It also happened that, at one of his first seminars, I made a connection between such a provocation and an unusual solution I gave to a problem for which I got once a special mention.

Now, after more than 30 years, I don't remember all the details, just that I interrupted him by saying:

"Comrade professor, I think I can solve that problem."

He, being a short, thin, bald guy, less than 50 years old, and taking off his spectacles, came close to my seat:

"Dear handsome young man, do you think you are so great as to disturb my presentation?"

"No, I’m talking seriously, just that I didn’t make all the connections."

He looked in my notebook, seeing that I didn't take notes on the current problems:

"So far you are in a big trouble. If you fail, as your notebook is showing, you'll have big difficulties at the exam."

I felt he was not serious, that he just provoked me. However some colleagues thought I was crazy to take on with "Izvi" - his nickname. It wasn’t so easy as I initially thought. I spent days and nights, searched many books from the library, even skipped some meals, walked hours long, which wouldn't be bad even today.

I also saw an advertisement and went to see a Soviet movie: Stalker, by Tarkowski. Some colleagues even laughed saying that I am among the very few eccentrics to try Russian films. The cinema was almost empty, less than 10 viewers, just the movie and me in that huge hall. And at the end I also remember a train passing and the trembling of a glass with water on a table...

At the following seminar my teacher didn't ask me anything, neither I came to a solution. However, after about 10 days, I was able to connect the initial reasoning (something geometric) with real numbers, but it took me another 2-3 days to clear myself and rewrite everything on a page. Just once he asked, like at a poker game:

"Are you folding?"

"Still no, but I feel that the ace card will arrive soon!"

"Be careful, the stake is always bigger!"

I think that I had a completely different face when I had "that ace" in my pocket and I didn't resist, I told him at the beginning of the class:

"I am all in now. All I have on me, money, clothes, notebooks, pens, food card. If you want, I will ask my father for his car as well!", and I put the sheet of paper in front of him.

He took it, looked at it, and his face changed and after a while he said:

"I need some time to call too, but if you came to Izvercian with a bluff, you are finished. If it's good, Izvercian guarantees you the engineer diploma, of course, if you don't run with a cute girl or if you don't make any huge stupidities."

He came very late after the break, saying:

"You won, but I still can't believe you didn't cheat for becoming an engineer in just a few days", he joked.

"After the class we'll meet in my office to talk and convince me it's your own perspiration on that paper."

And we talked equally about that reasoning, as well as about the "magnificent illumination circumstances", about how mysterious, rare and hard to get such a mood is, about how condensed but compulsory inspiration and much perspiration resides behind some rows of true mathematics.

I remember I told him about that movie I saw and how much it shocked me, and that I think there must be a a strange connection between the film and my math solution. He said he didn't see the film and changed the subject. Even now I remember the questions he asked me, even a sort of a prediction for me, and my answers too:

"Why didn't you go to study mathematics?"

"I don’t know, usually I don't obtain the same results when I resume calculations", I said.

"But that it's a condition for a good mathematician", he laughed. "What brought you here at Mechanical Engineering?"

"Neither this I know too well, maybe I came here, following my father, I am not very sure."

"Your answers are not astonishing to me, I think you contradict profoundly your father too. You'll graduate this school easily, you'll may even become a good engineer, but even if you understand, you will not feel like most of them."

He said something like this, or at least his words were almost these. I remember I was astonished and I didn't understand at that time what he meant.

Even now the questions are still there: who are "the most of them"? Or the other ones, the few ones? What is the difference, the contradiction? The general, between the individual and the school/profession/social system? Or the more profound fight with the self of an artistic soul? Can the few at least communicate with the most? Is it impossible, or too hard, much harder than acceding, learning, knowing one's condition? Are the few ones good or bad? Aren't the good ones in danger of being neutralized by the bad and the most? Isn't their unrest in vain? Wouldn't be the world a little nicer and better, by working this "equation"? Or, is it something more profound, that I still don't realize, the upper questions being "just superficial ones"?

After a few weeks, my teacher opened the discussion about that movie too, sharing a similar mystery of feeling like a "lead" to the truth:

"However, If you'll learn more, I am forever available."

His conclusion and words shocked me more than anything else until then. We never resumed this subject, despite the fact that we met even after I graduated. He died in the 90s and these things remained forgotten in a fog to me.

A few weeks ago, maybe my teacher, or Stalker/Tarkowski, sent me a "providential messenger" with exactly the following words:

"If you watched Stalker 20 years ago... you should watch it again! It's a masterpiece that deserves to be remembered. I often feel like that trembling glass too, maybe it's the energy and tension of life and our artistic approach to it."

Counting better, 33 years have passed since then, and the messenger's contaminating words reopened my questions like if it would have been yesterday. And brought new ones. I am pushed by curiosity, but I also feel like I haven't the courage to return there in time and in the zone… Why? How can he be so clear and me not?... I must ask his help.

When I just thought I must ask for help... I heard my new cellphone ringing.

I was sure it should be my wife or one person who recently looked for me on my old cell. As I (almost) never keep that one with me, the guy must have spoken by mistake with my wife and she gave him this number too. When he tried with the new number, it happened that I had neither phone with me and he talked again with my wife. She wanted to warn (and scold me), but she couldn't because I had no cell with me. As we also had previously "serious" discussions about the fact she (always / only sometimes is my own version) can't contact me (because of me being distraught, any suspicions out of the question), just imagine what a speech I had to endure, that she even didn't mention who looked for me. Neither was I in the mood to ask and I forgot.

But surprise… it wasn't my wife, nor that person, but an artist from London, the messenger, who was going to arrive in my town, Resita. I was completely shocked as I didn't imagine he could be a real person, with a real car and with a friend of his travelling to Romania.

"How did you arrive in Resita, a now forgotten town in the Banat Mountains, and how did you get this phone number?", I asked.

"We found on a website that Resita has a special magic of derelict industry and we also found your phone number there."

"It is absolutely impossible, the website surely is mine, but this phone number cannot be there. I didn't post it yet."

As he had internet on his cell, he accessed my site and my new number was surely there. I couldn't believe my eyes, I was even more convinced that the messenger must have paranormal, transcendent powers.

"Was it also you the one who left that comment about Stalker?", I continued.

"Yes, it was me, … and every single abandoned place I visit becomes a special memory to me, from its history to its meaning for the country that has it. It's a special connection with them: it's a real profound interest I have in what once was human, and now it's back to the nature's domain. And I consider all of them historic monuments. Whether they are a bad or a good memory... they stand the test of time, which models and shapes them. It's all about a sort of a poetic and philosophic melancholy… Like in Tarkowski's Stalker", he continued.

As you can see, all his words sounded unbelievable to me, so I was left speechless.

He added:

"Your Vangelis equation is very interesting too, and I love the association of Vangelis with the background machinery. And Vangelis is one of my favorite artists ever. His music is the life, the nature, the Universe themselves."

"What?? It cannot be real what I hear with my own ears. Do we share the same artistic soul? And are you the artist I never thought to be? It's true, I am an engineer who considers his patents art, and owing this to Vangelis, but further I have no rational explanation to these coincidences."

"To answer your questions... I agree with you: any form of human activity, in any field, that is developed with passion, effort and a dreamy attitude is art! Any form of art requires sacrifice, study, passion and hard working. And it's all about pushing the limits further, all the time. So definitely your patents are works of art, considering your approach previously described. Human beings have such a big potential as creatures on this planet. What makes me sad is to see that most of them are not interested in contributing to such artistic degree... they just limit themselves to abuse society and this planet. But the few ones with sensitivity and a soul will rescue the rest... that's my hope at least."

"Do you also have answers for the questions I didn’t express yet?".  I was meaning here those stemming from the "predicionts" of my math teacher.

"I don't quite understand. What did you mean?"

"Nothing, maybe you'll understand once, but it's too much for me, so how could I explain this to you? However, let me tell you about something else, about a dream of mine, of an international art festival to promote and revive Resita's (partially derelict) industrial patrimony, like in Berlin or Budapest. Together with Mr. Berwanger, a compatriot of mine from Resita, who is now living in Germany, a passionate photographer, fascinated by the industrial ruins theme, also a trusty and serious person, I think that we will succeed to fulfill this dream. I would like to extend you an invitation as well, to join us and our team of volunteers.

Abandoned Blast Furnace in Resita. Historic Monument (Still!) Captive in the TMK Private Property
Photo by Erhard A. Berwanger

"Regarding your invitation: I often express my ideas through abstract stories, words, film and music. I would definitely love to share with you some of them and some shots of the Romanian experience. It would be fantastic if it could help with something like the festival you dream of. It could be my way to contribute to an idea that I really like and respect. I love Berlin and its feeling and I've heard that in Budapest someone is already using derelict factories for events, festivals and concerts. Therefore, even if I'm not an organizer, I think it's feasible, with the right contacts. As always, I also think that if you want something, nothing can stop you from trying to get it… And something more: your Vangelis equation made me feel like you would bring Vangelis and I would bring Tarkowski to this project: I already like to think that they'll be "our guests" (even if sadly only one is still alive)."

"You aren't totally correct: it's not that only me, but both of us would like to bring Vangelis to this project... and then, 33 years ago, I couldn't even really have known Tarkowski. And now, without you, I would have almost forgotten how much I owe him too… However, fortunately this time, Vangelis is still alive. Can you bet your art on bringing him in person here in Resita?"

"What do you mean?"

"Aren't we speaking, better or worse, the same language?", and I repeated the same simple question.

He didn't answer.

"If you don't deny it, I take it as a positive answer and this moment you can ask me anything humanly possible and even more, and I'll do it, not only promise."

"Then please guide us through Resita's derelict places you presented on your website. And let me know what would it cost to do that."

"I can't ask you for money, but after your visit, you have to speak to the press, to contaminate them, my less self-confident compatriots, with your clarity and optimism." I didn't give him any chance to refuse.

"And something more: please hide your unnoticeable small car, here no one takes you seriously without a Rolls, Jaguar or especially a huge German one, like Mercedes S Class, A8, Q7… This is the mentality and I can’t change it."

"But I am perfectly happy with my car and I like it, and where do you find a true artist to own a Rolls or a Jaguar?"

"Never mind, if they ask, I'll tell them you left your personal jet at the airport and I brought you here with my "everyday stylish Fiat". Me, an engineer - artist, passionate about classic cars and not having the necessary budget for a real one, I built my own unique one, "suggesting" a Bugatti - Jaguar of the '40s and the (local) press knows me well. Don't you like such cars too?"

"I am not a fan of them." He didn't want to tell me more, and I didn't insist either.

I called a friend managing the once big and prosperous Resita Machine Building Works (UCMR) and we were allowed in, just to take photos, not to film. The messenger and his friend were in their "own time zone" and I filled this relativity with the joy of meeting and talking to some former university and work colleagues. Once, after I finished a phone call, he approached me:

"What are you doing Marius? Are you arranging for the press conference?"

"Sure, do you mind?"

"No, but tell them I don't agree to film my face, just to take photos."

I felt it was his way to protest to the absurd limitation imposed onto him and to my “aristocratic - impressing” image strategy too (even if in concordance with the local mentalities) and also oppose the press' aggressiveness. It was like at a chess game, it was his "next step". I had to admit I lost:

"Congratulations, your image strategy responds perfectly the situation and is infinitely wiser than "our S Class-es, A8s or Q7s mania". You behave like a true artist."

When he and his friend have "exhausted" the accessible zone, we went up to the Semenic mountain. Of course with my "everyday stylish Fiat". I seriously doubt all the 3 of us, could have at least "fit naturally" in his car. I knew they were curious to film the abandoned wind turbines and also "immerse" into the nature. A shepherd whom we met there, told us about the derelict communist hotel too, and I had to accompany them there. My recollection was that 20 years ago, I spent there a marvelous winter vacation with my girl friend at that time, currently my wife.

They started their immersion, and me mine. I wanted to rediscover that environment from 20 years ago. The single similarity was the landscape I saw from the windows. It was quite difficult, because now it was an ugly rainy weather, and formerly, a sunny snowy marvel. When the geometric shapes overlapped, a miracle happened: I saw "my room" like it was 20 years ago, and snow looking through the window. And me loving and living my earlier life.

Suddenly my cellphone started ringing. It was my younger boy:

"Dad, I want to go out and ride my bicycle. Mum went to treat a patient and she doesn't answer the phone. I called to tell you."

"Ok, go, but in any case, leave her a written note."

…and I woke up in the derelict hotel. I was out quickly and waited for my two other companions at the main entrance looking out to the rain.

The messenger appeared first:

"How do you feel Marius?"

"It was my younger boy who called to ask something and I'm out to avoid my wife."

I didn't tell him more about my recent experience, and he looked astonished how a child could end "my immersion". Similarly, when I told him once how I am adapting my travel plans to my children's vacations.

I wanted to check the time on my "antique" phone and I couldn't read the digits.

"I can't read without my glasses and I don't want to be late", and gave him my cell.

"It's five", and after a while he asked:

"How old are you Marius?", and this opened a sincere reciprocal investigation of two simple human beings. However, I also felt his question like a "Can we trust each other, Marius?".

His friend arrived too and we left.

As it was too early for the press conference, and I because of their curiosity to learn more about me, I invited them home . My younger boy who was still alone opened the door, after which he felt shy with the guests and went to his room. I wanted to offer them something to drink, and the first thing I found was a Greek Ouzo. It was reminding me how my entire family spent many (all inclusive) vacations at the sea side in Greece, for the joy of our children and ours, the elders, too, for the wonderful coast landscapes and for the Greek charm (contemporary, antic and byzantine).

The press conference that followed wasn't, as I initially expected, a total fiasco. The positive fact was that we opened a dialogue with the representatives of the mayor who were there.

When the messenger left (for home?), I still doubted if what we lived and if all the coincidences were entirely "terrestrial"... and I opened my e-mail box and found a message from my friend Danny, saying that when he couldn't contact me by phone and learned my new number from my wife, he posted it on the contact page of our website.

However, I am still confused and trying to understand these facts. I found some works and the “anticipatory” approach of professor Nadin and his peer scientists - artists from Ante Institute as being closest to "my mind and soul". I discovered and contacted him on the web some years ago and we communicated occasionally since then. It was the chance that he is a compatriot of mine and so we found some deeper connections too.

Regarding my present struggle, I refer to some formulations that impressed and cleared me most:

The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms. Muriel Rukeyser, The Speed of Darkness, 1968

The living is the expression of creativity: nothing is the same. Elsasser, 1987

Do not neurons have, metaphorically speaking, a "soul", but only electrical potentials? Gelfand asked (cf. Arshavski)

The mind exists only in interaction with other minds. Mihai Nadin

The brain is the hole body. Mihai Nadin

One cannot not interact. Mihai Nadin

Life is goal driven: from what is to what might be. Mihai Nadin

Ignoring mind processes, education has become a packaging industry. Mihai Nadin

And there would be something more: I do bet on our team's "art" to have once/always professor Nadin, here in Resita. To make us open the gates which are closing currently the Resita's "hot ovens of the molten metal” (he spoke about in his recent message), and maybe to change our fate with "his mind existing only in interaction with our minds too". And why not Vangelis too?, his mind can't make an exception either.

And why not, by extending the (sensitive, good) minds' interaction at the scale of the world, to change the world's fate itself. Would this be the way through which "the few ones with sensitivity and a soul will rescue the rest"?… "that's our (messenger's) hope at least".

If it is so simple, why doesn't it happen at a larger scale? And our world seems collapsing in self destruction, abuse, greed, resignation, distrust, fear…

This is "the universe of (our lives) stories". As "life is goal driven, from what is to what might be":

Have you any further questions about "what might be with our lives"? Dear Mr. Berwanger, dear professor Nadin, dear Vangelis, dear messenger and everybody else, anonymous or not, "who's mind exists only in interaction with our minds too".


I know that professor Nadin, even if I forced metaphorically a scientific truth ("his mind existing only in interaction with our minds too"), will not reprove me, because it already happened and so it became a truth. He also made me discover my own errors, the source of my so many fears and, of course, of the will to experiment further. Fortunately I met the messenger who made me aware and fortunately I was able to ask and seek help. I was deterministically searching answers only in the past and in the present. And it seems that the world doesn't work (anymore), not even scientifically, therefore:

Anticipation is a new frontier in science, where determinism meets non-determinism.

New research suggests humans can sense future events without any known clue.

There is no creativity in the absence of anticipation.

Anticipation is definitory of life. (M. Nadin, Commitment to Knowledge)

Are we (meaning here our children and their children too) ever going to understand the life, the nature and the Universe? At least I found hope.

…as I told him not long ago: by adding the hope to understand, he pushed a human creation, like Vangelis' music,  to a "more sublime" state, which already was sublime.

Abandoned "Ovens" in Eastern Germany (in Resita such monuments will also be accessible)
Photo by Erhard A. Berwanger

This REŞIŢA Needs Your Photos, Stories, Music, Movies, and Art, for Regaining Hope and for Our World to Be a Little Nicer and Better
Summary in Romanian
O "Poveste Deschisă": Festivalul de Artă pentru Patrimoniul Industrial al Reşiţei

(Referirile exclusive la festival sunt subliniate. Restul este o poveste auto-interogativă, de mistere. Este o invitaţie deschisă pentru oameni şi artişti din întreaga ţară şi din toată lumea, să vină la Reşiţa să creeze.)

Motto-ul poveştii: Viaţa este guvernată de scop, de la ce este spre ce ar putea fi. (Mihai Nadin)

Motto-ul festivalului: Şi Reşiţa va fi guvernată de scop; de la industria abandonată spre puterea vindecătoare şi miraculoasă a artei şi vieţii.

Reşiţa: fostă industrie şi natură

Sunteţi curioşi să vedeţi mai mult? Vă desconspirăm o descriere vizuală a misterului.

Povestea începe cu profesorul meu de analiză matematică din anul I de la facultatea de inginerie, dl. Izvercian, care ne provoca să abordăm şi probleme controversate. Descriu în continuare cum m-am lăsat antrenat, frământările, nesomnul, efortul şi iluminarea prin care am ajuns la o soluţie. Am fost inspirat aparent inexplicabil şi de filmul "Călăuza" regizat de Tarkowski, pe care l-am vizionat în perioada de nelinişte trăită atunci. Ulterior şi profesorul meu a văzut filmul şi a exprimat trăiri similare.

Au trecut între timp 33 de ani, şi el, ca şi regizorul Tarkowski, muriseră demult, dar primesc un mesaj de la un artist din Londra că trebuie să revăd filmul pentru că este o capodoperă a genului. Mesajul mă şochează şi imi redeschide amintirile, întrebările şi neliniştile, dar am reţineri să mă întorc în trecut şi să retrăiesc acele stări. Mă decid să cer ajutor mesagerului.

Surpriza este şi mai mare, când mesagerul parcă îmi citeşte gândurile, şi vine în persoană la Reşiţa, un oraş industrial, acum decăzut şi uitat din România. L-au atras şi postările mele despre atracţiile industriale inclusiv abandonate din regiunile învecinate Reşiţei şi din toată ţara.

Chiar mă sună pe un telefon al cărui număr îl ştiam încă nepostat pe website-ul meu.

Dialogul mă face să descopăr, spre şi mai marea mea uimire, multe apropieri cu acest tânăr necunoscut: o concepţie similară despre artă şi viaţă, preferinţa aproape identică pentru muzica lui Vangelis şi lumea maşinilor. Îi povestesc că sub aspectul creativităţii datorez brevetele şi doctoratul meu muzicii lui Vangelis şi despre un vis de promovare şi renaştere prin artă, a patrimoniului industrial (parţial abandonat) al Reşiţei: un festival internaţional ca la Berlin sau Budapesta. Şi că împreună cu dl. Berwanger, un reşiţean trăind acum în Germania şi fotograf fascinat de tema ruinelor industriale, şi sprijiniţi de echipa noastră voluntară, avem speranţa să înfăptuim acest vis.

El înţelege şi potenţialul şi enormele dificultăţi în a înfăptui ideea, şi îmi promite tot sprijinul ca artist.

Îl însoţesc să fotografieze decorul parţial suprarealist al unei mari intreprinderi, al cărei manager îmi este prieten, apoi urcăm pe muntele Semenic, unde ne cufundăm într-o altă relicvă a timpului: fostul hotel comunist.

Eu trăiesc acolo un miracol straniu: privind prin ferestre şi suprapunând peisajul montan actual cu amintirile mele de acum 20 de ani, am impresia că m-am întors în timp: împreună cu prietena mea (actuala soţie) mă bucur de pasiunile şi trăirile noastre, asociate feeriei montane hibernale şi decorurilor arhitectonice omeneşti de atunci. Un telefon de la băiatul meu cel mic mă readuce în realitatea înfricoşătoare, ies repede afară şi privesc ploaia deasă de toamnă.

Mesagerul pleacă înapoi în lumea lui şi eu rămân cu nedumiririle, dar deschid e-mailul şi aflu ca printr-un explicabil, dar tot straniu şir de coincidenţe, noul meu număr de telefon a fost postat pe site de prietenul şi partenerul meu din USA.

Aceasta mă face să caut mai profund explicaţii, şi să regăsesc speranţa de a înţelege, datorită unui alt prieten de pe web şi compatriot, profesorul Nadin şi savanţilor care se joacă, la frontierele ştiinţei, cu teorii ale anticipaţiei şi viului (vieţii). În planul creaţiei umane, cred că a fost împinsă spre "mai sublim" muzica lui Vangelis, care este deja sublimă.

Această Reşiţă are nevoie şi de fotografiile, poveştile, muzica, filmele, arta Dvs. pentru a-şi recâştiga speranţa şi pentru ca lumea noastră să devină puţin mai frumoasă şi mai bună
Povestea poveştii

Am scris aceste rânduri mai mult noaptea, cand mă trezeam să văd dacă băiatul meu cel mare este în camera lui, revenind acasă după nevinovatele ieşiri cu prietenii şi colegii de la sfârşit de săptămână. Cu gândul şi la fraţii mei mai mici pe care nu i-am avut niciodată, mi-am imaginat că viaţa reală ne-a despărţit, iar acum printr-o întâmplare fericită ne-am regăsit. Încercând să le explic ceva ce nu poate fi explicat - viaţa insăşi, găsesc speranţa, că vor şti să citească printre rânduri şi vor împărtăşi şi ei bucuria întâlnirii cu mine, şi implicit cu "fraţii mei mai mari", deci şi ai lor. Pentru totdeauna.

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