Page 1



The Culture of Tourism BY Peter Spillmann It’s the beginning of July, shortly after sunset. Tourists are thronging on the terrace of the Esplanade du Trocadéro and the large steps leading down to the Pont d’Iéna, pointing their iPhones, iPads and digital cameras to the sky that is slowly turning violet. Their faces are dimly illuminated by numerous smaller and larger displays, all showing the same image: the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower standing out darkly against the Parisian skyline. Tour groups, couples, families, singles, gesticulating tour guides, a woman reading from a travel guide, older women and children playing. A young couple at a photo shoot, guided by the fantasy of a “romantic evening in Paris”. She is dressed entirely in white, he is wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. She stands at the balustrade of the terrace, tilts her head, strokes her hair back, looks to the distance, glances back over her shoulder and leans towards him. He takes her in his arms, they sit together on the wall, he stands up, she leans on both elbows, then sits upright and tilts her head back, while the photographer makes shots from the side, long shots and medium long shots. A Turkish-French family with relatives and friends are on a sightseeing tour. The young men film each other singing short, improvised, satirical songs against the backdrop of the capital: “Sarkozy est parti, nous sommes toujours là!” Later on, these become short messages to the world on YouTube. Time and time again, people take on identical postures, one arm extended, the hand levelled as if indicating the approximate height of an absent object. After two or three instructions and minor corrections of the posture, the illusion is perfect: “Geert touching the top of Eiffel Tower” is the caption on Flickr. On the square in front of the Musée de l’Homme, there are dozens of street vendors offering glowing bouncy balls and flying illuminated ropes; neon-coloured traces of light in the evening sky. A young girl throws an illuminated rope up in the air and shouts: “Oui! – Paris!” Scenes similar to these in Paris take place all over the world, wherever we come upon the hotspots of tourism. They are often smiled at and, like everything making a touristy impression, not taken seriously at all. Yet if one takes tourism seriously as a contemporaneous cultural phenomenon, one can soon discern that the tourist gaze, the consumption of leisure time and culture, and a specific touristic mode of taking in locations and histories, play a pivotal role in the current conception of places, regions and nations situating themselves in a global state of competition. In the culture of the world of experience, the globe becomes an exhibition and the art of staging and the spectacle, which is closely tied to tourism, essentially form the current context of artistic and cultural production. The focus of interest is on tourism as a cultural phenomenon. The significance of touristic experiences and experiential perspectives, the development of the modern public sphere, the self-presentation of nations and the mobilisation of a subjectivity no longer exclusively bound to



its origin and also forms of culture that were only able to emerge through tourism are all examples of this focus. Paris offers itself as a starting point for grasping the relations between an ideologically motivated staging of nationality; the mobilisation of a mass audience necessary to this end and the inherent onset of mass or city tourism. The Eiffel Tower was originally designed and built as the monumental entrance gate to the Parisian World Fair of 1889. The fair was held on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. At the time, hardly any other European nation had mastered the art of self-staging as perfectly as France. The country was in competition with England, Germany and Austria, and was involved in colonial expansion on several fronts. At the end of the 19th century, by organising a World Fair the large states always followed a double imperial strategy: The most pompous presentation possible of one’s own economic potency – in the form of technological engineering achievements – and the demonstration of one’s own cultural significance – by staging the difference between European and non-European cultures and lifestyles. Among the most popular attractions of the fairs were therefore presentations of foreign peoples and cultures, for example, a rebuilt street of the old part of Cairo inhabited by extras; pastoral village scenes from Switzerland or the live presentation of the life of African peoples in the style of anthropological displays, which were widespread throughout Europe at the time. The World Fairs of the 19th century can also be regarded as precursors of mass tourism in economic terms. Seven million people already visited the 1889 World Fair in Paris. Gustave Eiffel had issued stocks, quite in the style of the times, to finance his project. Two thirds of the construction costs were already grossed just through admission tickets after the first year of operation and the Eiffel Tower stock thus became one of the most successful in France’s economic history. The interest of millions of urban tourists in the metropolis of Paris, in its historical monuments and museums such as the Louvre, which today appears natural, is actually the result of such repeated mobilisations of a broad public. This publication critically fathoms the cultural phenomena and effects, as well as the social fields of interaction, which we encounter time and again in the context of tourism, from three sides. The contributions of the first section (old – new) are dedicated to questions regarding the role that tourism plays in defining and staging history and national identity. Since the 19th century, the field of tourism has been one of the most prominent arenas in which nations, regions and cities can effectively stage their histories and peculiarities in front of an ever-larger audience. Touristic normality also lets one easily forget that history is always and above all constructed as a national or regional project of demarcation and that its interpretation is a socially and culturally contested territory. The competition in which the different European empires were once engaged against each other in colonial arenas and in the context of the World Fairs has its logical continuation, today, in the competition of metropolises and regions as attractive sightseeing, shopping, cultural or



congress destinations. The construction of spectacular architectural landmarks has proven itself as a strategy of staging, as has the application to gain an exclusive World Cultural Heritage title. With the development of the UNESCO’s policies since the 1950s and the introduction of uniform standards regarding the reflection, definition and stocktaking of one’s own cultural traditions, the notion of a World Cultural Heritage worth protecting for all of mankind has also asserted itself in the context of tourism. The cultural theorist Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett has been a critical observer of this development for decades. Her text gives an introduction to the special dynamism of the policies of cultural heritage and shows that what takes place does not exclusively serve the preservation of an existing culture, but is basically a new mode of meta-cultural production serving both tourism and a specific, global competition of nations against each other. The question regarding the images with which a tourist region seeks to attract attention is therefore only ostensibly the problem of those in charge of tourism and their marketing specialists. Also, image concepts always indirectly affect questions of regional identity. Reto Stäheli’s text uses the example of the region of the Toggenburg to show what a participatory process could imply in this context and the problems associated with it. In Berlin’s city tourism the visibility and interpretation of history and the attendant question as to which traces are to be preserved or abolished have played a central role during the entire post-war period. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the tourist boom of the past twenty years have led to a far-reaching revision and restaging of the nation’s history. The real traces in urban space are displaced by efforts to make the vanishing history “tangible” or “experienceable” through elaborate mises-en-scène. These new narratives address an international audience; spectacular blockbusters supplant the varied forms of delving into specific stories and local struggles. Based on an installation by the artist Cyprien Gaillard, the artist and curator Marion von Osten examines the current debate on the colonial legacy of Prussia in the context of the new and on-going conception of Berlin museums and the new staging of German history that is closely tied to it. The hopes placed on tourism as an economic and also cultural stimulus for development are at the centre of the impressions that the author and curator Jochen Becker gained from the project Tropical Islands, located south of Berlin. In the late 1990s, the conversion of disused industrial facilities for touristic means seemed to be one of the most important strategies promising peripheral regions a new economic future. In eastern Germany and elsewhere, prohibited military areas polluted with ammunition and regions destroyed by open-pit coal mining are being turned into ever-new nature parks and lake landscapes. For the politicians responsible, what seem to be just as important as the economic effects, are the expected cultural effects of a “tourism stimulus”. Finally, the contribution by the curator and project artist Elke Krasny is dedicated to island-like spatial configurations that one increasingly finds in the context of touristic developments. According to her observations, the carefully reconfigured historical monument, the new architectural landmark and the museum island are three impor-





tant corner points in the current economic strategies for cities. The principle of insularity becomes the central production strategy of globalised urban spaces. In many places, newly created museum islands serve as a kind of engine to trigger processes of urban or regional development and effectively stage what is locally specific in a global way. The contributions in the second part of the publication (near – far) deal with tourism as a prominent place of exchange, of the encounter and confrontation between different cultural milieus and actors. In the wake of the increasing mobility of large groups of society, the touristic space can easily be discerned as a central social and societal laboratory of modernisation and globalisation. In the context of tourism, we come upon complex cultural relationships of exchange on the most various levels, for example, in circulating narratives and images, in the actual contact with other social conditions and actors and also in the use of the services that are offered in tourism almost everywhere and to a great extent by migrant workers. Due to its long history as a territory travelled, viewed and described from the outside, Switzerland is especially suitable for a case study in the observation of the reciprocal influences of self-perception and external perception. The question of the degree to which Switzerland’s present-day cultural identity has been shaped by this relationship of exchange is the topic of a conversation with the folklorist Walter Leimgruber. Guests from India are a relatively new target group of travellers for whom certain destinations in Switzerland are becoming increasingly important. At the centre of the Indian visitors desire is less the real country of Switzerland but more a sort of utopian “Disneyland of love”. Prejudices and projections arising in locals about “Indian” peculiarities at first led to numerous misunderstandings. The sociologist Sybille Frank uses the example of Engelberg to show how complexly the relationships of cultural exchange between two entirely different cultures can develop and manifest themselves. The ethnologist Angela Sanders also approaches the phenomenon of Engelberg from the backstage of globalised tourism. Her contribution deals with the international service industry that is behind package tour arrangements and the highly mobile migrant workers who in the end guarantee the guests from India the experience of “Switzerland”. There are signs of a reversal of views, for example, the rustic, museum-like Switzerland from the perspective of booming urban India. In the future, more and more Indian enterprises will offer their own, Indian version of “Switzerland”. In the conversation with Barbara Emmenegger, the city of Lucerne is taken as an example to discuss the questions of how tourism has inscribed itself in the city’s structure and daily life, where an exchange between locals and guests can at all take place, and what has changed due to the increasing globalisation of target groups. The third section (high – low), finally, deals with the debate between elitist and popular cultural demands, which is particularly heated in the field of tourism. In the past 200 years, the respectively better-off social groups have never grown tired of vehemently distanc-


ing themselves from the so-called mass of travellers and the practices of tourists. Everything that has to do with mass tourism – tourist destinations, popular sights, hotel architecture and the culture of the spectacle – is denigrated and criticised from a predominantly educated, middle-class perspective. Artists have always belonged to the most passionate critics of tourism. In the context of one of Cézanne’s stays at Lac d’Annecy, the art historian Maura Coughlin discovered informative details in this regard. Cézanne himself, and also the ensuing literature on his travels, quite obviously sought to cover up the fact that the great landscape painter had also approached some of his motifs as “only” a tourist. There are repeated accounts that his wife was behind such fleeting divertissements. Until today, Cézanne thus embodies the genius of the artistically enlightened traveller who at all times was able to generate his own, authentic impressions; a mastery and superiority of perception that allegedly distinguishes itself from a touristic, superficial and, of course, more femininely connoted mode of seeing and taking in landscapes. Contemporary works critically concerned with themes of tourism remarkably often take up the motif of standardised pictures, for



example, endlessly reproduced by tourists, who seek to render them harmless, as it were, through over-affirmation. Others caricature the allegedly naive pleasure of the masses in counterfeits and cheap mises-en-scène, or they denounce their diminished sense of correct distinction and their lack of insider knowledge – both features that supposedly characterise the tourist. What is clearly less reflected upon is the role that artists themselves have played and play in search of new, unconventional sites and attractions, as trendsetters or location scouts, in the history of tourism. We examined the complicated relationship between art and tourism in a research project and came to the conclusion that touristic spaces of experience form exciting contemporaneous contexts for the production of art and culture. What one must consider in this regard, however, is elaborated in a conversation with the artist and lecturer Nika Spalinger. In his contribution on the “Tyrolean” conditions, the culture and architecture scholar, artist and curator Michael Zinganel discusses the aspect of local actors who, to a large extent, act autonomously and in their way creatively. Behind the merrily proliferating assemblages of Tyrolean and Alpine architecture of a bed-and-breakfast with a wellness area, there are usually families who have been living there for generations. They have evolved, in and with tourism, from mountain farmers renting out guest rooms to hotel entrepreneurs. This is directly due to an obstinate strategy of do-it-yourself, continuous tinkering and making minor adaptions. It comes as no surprise that this does not result in architectural icons or high culture. Yet culture “made in Tyrol” has become trendsetting all the same, maybe precisely because it is a form of contemporary pop­ul­ ar culture. Virtually since the beginnings of tourism, the souvenir has also been in the focus of critique. The ethnologist Franziska Nyffenegger shows in her text that there have repeatedly been serious attempts to promote the good and sensible souvenir, furnished with real handicraft quality and made by trained designers. But this claim could never assert itself, since neither handicraft quality nor a good form are really relevant factors when the issue is a small moment of remembrance or a sign of friendship. Quite often the architecture created in and for tourism has been criticised for its relation to spectacle and staging, firstly from those involved in protecting monuments and later by experts in modern architecture. The spectacular hotel palaces built in the Swiss Alps around the turn of the last century in the style of castles or bourgeois townhouses were regarded in the mid 20th century as decadent structures in terms of style, which did not correspond with the local character. The cultural references of touristic architecture, from the hotel palaces of the Belle Époque or the jumbo chalets of the 1970s, to the staging of World Fairs and, further back in time, to the parks and “pleasure grounds” of the nobility in the Renaissance and Baroque periods with their scenery architectures and Swiss houses, could not be adequately acknowledged in the history of architecture for a long time. Even today an aversion to historicising citations and narrative mises-en-scène is customary in the Swiss architectural scene. The accusation of “Disney World” is quickly made. The conversation with the art and architecture historian Stanislaus von Moos



deals with the misunderstandings on which this general prejudice against historical citations and the belief in the dogma of a neutral modern form are possibly based. The cultural dimension of tourism addressed here, then, comprises more than just a few spectacular historical phenomena and mani­ festations. It cannot be treated as an epiphenomenon or side effect of a constantly growing travel market, either. One of the central dynamic factors in the restructuring and redefinition of present-day cultural landscapes is the transformation of cities and landscapes with the aim of optimising the image and the experience. The transformation of everyday worlds into leisure-time and experience worlds, which one is familiar with from tourism, also takes place far away from tourist hotspots. Moreover, touristic forms of consuming culture and experiences have long shaped daily life and there­fore also lead to the formation of new everyday cultures. In this sense, the publication at hand also understands itself as a contribution to grasping and critically reflecting on tourism and touristic processes, foremost as independent, socially constructed and culturally significant processes at the centre of the dynamics of modernisation and globalisation.


Meanwhile, down on the Seine, UFO-like ships are gliding by. Hundreds of spectators are sitting on huge XXL decks under glass domes, as if on moving platforms. Spotlights mounted on the sides of the ships temporarily illuminate the banks with blazing lights. On an advertising flyer of a shipping company distributed on the Pont d’Iéna by students wearing sailor’s uniforms it says: “Discover the delight and magic of the ‘City of Lights’ by night, gliding through the heart of Paris, to see monuments and bridges and with good luck one or the other hidden lovers on the romantic shore of river Seine!” At that moment, the tower glows in a warm orange light that makes the structure appear translucent. A beacon fire is ignited on the top. A bright ray of light begins circling over the city. Swarms of tourists on the terraces, the banks of the Seine and the Champ de Mars respond with a fireworks display of xenon flashes from tens of thousands of mobile phones, iPads and cameras.



Peter Spillmann *1961, studied fine arts at the F+F Schule für experimentelle Gestaltung in Zurich and is an

artist, curator and lecturer. Spillmann lives and works in Zurich and Berlin. He teaches and conducts research at the Lucerne School of Art and Design in the Master of Arts in Fine Arts / Major Art in Public Spheres programme. Spillmann is co-founder of various self-organised platforms including “Labor k3000” (1998) and “CPKC Center for Post-Colonial Knowledge and Culture” (2008), and in alternating interdisciplinary contexts he has developed thematic projects and exhibition such as “SwissMiniNature/Expoagricole” (Expo.02), “Be Creative!” (2002), “Backstage*Tourismus“ (2004), “Panorama der Arbeit” (2007) or “Top of Experience” (2008). In his research and cultural production he focuses on artistic strategies of spatial exploration and mapping, the cultural effects of globalisation, tourism and migration. Current projects include (2009) and (2012). Publications (selection): “TRANSIT MIGRATION” Forschungsgruppe (ed.): “Turbulente Ränder. Neue Perspektiven auf Migration an den Grenzen Europas”, 2007; “Backstage*Tours. Reisen in den touristischen Raum” (with Michael Zinganel), 2004; “MoneyNations” (with Marion von Osten), 2003.


old – new

Intangible Heritage as Metacultural Production 1 by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett Intangible heritage

Since the Second World War, UNESCO has supported a series of world heritage initiatives, starting with tangible heritage, both immovable and movable, and expanding to natural heritage, and most recently to intangible heritage.2 Although there are three separate heritage lists, there is increasing awareness of the arbitrariness of the categories and their interrelatedness. Tangible heritage is defined as ‘a monument, group of buildings or site of historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value’.

1 Gustave Eiffel (bottom left) at the top of the Eiffel Tower 1889. (Source: 2 View from Place du Trocadéro to the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars (photo: Peter Spillmann)

Natural heritage is defined as ‘outstanding physical, biological, and geological features; habitats of threatened plants or animal species and areas of value on scientific or aesthetic grounds or from the point of view of conservation’.3 Natural heritage initially referred to places with special characteristics, beauty, or some other value, but untouched by human presence, that is, as wilderness, but most places on the natural heritage list – and in the world – have been shaped or affected in some way by people, an understanding that has changed the way UNESCO thinks about natural heritage. At the same time, natural heritage, conceptualized in terms of ecology, environment, and a systemic approach to a living entity, provides a model for thinking about intangible heritage as a totality, rather than as an inventory, and for calculating the intangible value of a living system, be it natural or cultural. Over several decades of trying to define intangible heritage, previously and sometimes still called folklore, there has been an important shift in the concept of intangible heritage to include not only the masterpieces, but also the masters. The earlier folklore model supported scholars and institutions to document and preserve a record of disappearing traditions. The most recent model seeks to sustain a living, if endangered, tradition by supporting the conditions necessary for cultural reproduction. This means according value to the ‘carriers’ and ‘transmitters’ of traditions, as well as to their habitus and habitat. Whereas like tangible heritage, intangible heritage is culture, like natural heritage, it is alive. The task, then, is to sustain the whole system as a living entity and not just to collect ‘intangible artefacts’. UNESCO’s efforts to establish an instrument for the protection of what it now calls intangible heritage dates from 1952. The focus on legal con-

cepts, such as intellectual property, copyright, trademark and patent, as the basis for protecting what was then called folklore, failed – folklore by definition is not the unique creation of an individual; it exists in versions and variants rather than in a single, original, and authoritative form; it is generally created in performance and transmitted orally, by custom or example, rather than in tangible form (writing, notating, drawing, photographs, recordings).4 During the 1980s, legal issues were distinguished from preservation measures and in 1989 the UNESCO General Conference adopted the Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore.5 Dated 16 May 2001, the Report on the Preliminary Study on the Advisability of Regulating Internationally, through a New Standard-setting Instrument, the Protection of Traditional Culture and Folklore significantly shifted the terms of the 1989 document. First, rather than emphasize the role of professional folklorists and folklore institutions to document and preserve the records of endangered traditions, it focused on sustaining the traditions themselves by supporting the practitioners. This entailed a shift from artefacts (tales, songs, customs) to people (performers, artisans, healers), their knowledge and skills. Inspired by approaches to natural heritage as living systems and by the Japanese concept of Living National Treasure, which was given legal status in 1950, the 2001 document recognized the importance of enlarging the scope of intangible heritage and the measures to protect it. The continuity of intangible heritage would require attention not just to artefacts, but above all to persons, as well as to their entire habitus and habitat, understood as their life space and social world. Accordingly, UNESCO defined intangible heritage as: All forms of traditional and popular or folk culture, i.e. collective works originating in a given community and based on tradition. These creations are transmitted orally or by gesture, and are modified over a period of time through a process of collective recreation. They include oral traditions, customs, languages, music, dance, rituals, festivities, traditional medicine and pharmacopoeia, the culinary arts and all kinds of special skills connected with the material aspects of culture, such as tools and the habitat.6 And, at the March 2001 meeting in Turin, the definition further specified: Peoples’ learned processes


old – new

along with the knowledge, skills and creativity that inform and are developed by them, the products they create and the resources, spaces and other aspects of social and natural context necessary to their sustainability; these processes provide living communities with a sense of continuity with previous generations and are important to cultural identity, as well as to the safeguarding of cultural diversity and creativity of humanity.7 This holistic and conceptual approach to the definition of intangible heritage is accompanied by a definition in the form of an inventory, a legacy of earlier efforts at defining oral tradition and folklore: The totality of tradition-based creations of a cultural community, expressed by a group or individuals and recognized as reflecting the expectations of a community in so far as they reflect its cultural and social identity; its standards and values are transmitted orally, by imitation or by other means. Its forms are, among others, language, literature, music, dance, games, mythology, rituals, customs, handicrafts, architecture and other arts.8 Elsewhere in the Implementation Guide, terms like ‘traditional,’ ‘popular,’ and ‘folk’ situate oral and intangible heritage within an implicit cultural hierarchy made explicit in the explanation of ‘What for, and for whom?’: ‘For many populations (especially minority groups and indigenous populations), the intangible heritage is the vital source of an identity that is deeply rooted in history.’9 Neologisms like First Peoples (rather than Third World) and Les Arts Premiers (rather than Primitive Art) similarly preserve the notion of cultural hierarchy, while effecting a terminological reshuffling of the order, as can be seen with special clarity in the reorganization of museums and collections in Paris, including the dissolution of the Musée des Arts Africains et Océaniens and Musée national des Arts et Traditions Populaires, redistribution of the collection of the Musée de l’Homme, and creation of two new museums – Musée du Quai Branly, which is dedicated to the ‘arts and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas’ in Paris, and the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, in Marseilles.10 Since April 2000, highlights of the African, Oceanian, and American collections that will eventually be shown at the Musée du Quai Branly are being showcased for the first time in the Louvre’s Pavillon des Sessions, which has become the museum’s Salles des arts premiers.11 The presence of these works at the Louvre is taken as a long-awaited answer to the question posed in 1920 by the art critic Félix Fénéon, ‘Iront-ils au Louvre?’12 These developments at the national level are consistent with UNESCO’s efforts to mobilize state actors ‘to take the necessary measures for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage present in its territory’.13 These measures reveal how different the professional heritage enterprise is


from the heritage that is to be safeguarded. However much these measures are intended to safeguard something that already exists, their most dramatic effect is to build the capacity for something new, including an internationally agreed-upon concept of heritage, cultural inventories, cultural policy, documentation, archives, research institutes, and the like. In a word, safeguarding requires highly specialized skills that are of a different order from the equally specialized skills needed for the actual performance of Kutiyattam or Bunraku or Georgian polyphonic song. Accordingly, UNESCO’s role is to provide leadership and guidance, to create international agreement and co-operation by convening national representatives and experts, and to lend its moral authority to the consensus they build in the course of an elaborate and extended process of deliberation, compromise, and reporting. This process produces agreements, recommendations, resolutions, and provisions. The resulting covenants, conventions, and proclamations invoke rights and obligations, formulate guidelines, propose normative and multilateral instruments, and call for the establishment of committees. The committees are to provide guidance, make recommendations, advocate for increased resources, and examine requests for inscription on lists, inclusion in proposals, and international assistance. Recommendations are to be implemented at both national and international levels. State parties are to define and identify the cultural assets on their territory by creating inventories. They are to formulate heritage policy and create bodies to carry out that policy. They are expected to establish institutions to support documentation of cultural assets and research into how best to safeguard them, as well as to train professionals to manage heritage. They are supposed to promote awareness, dialogue, and respect through such valorizing devices as the list. The List

On 18 May 2001, after decades of debate over terminology, definition, goals, and safeguarding measures for what had previously been designated ‘traditional culture and folklore’ – and before the Report on the Preliminary Study on the Advisability of Regulating Internationally, through a New Standard-setting Instrument, the Protection of Traditional Culture and Folklore was presented to the UNESCO Executive Board – UNESCO finally announced the first nineteen ‘Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.’14 What is the nature of such lists, and why, when all is said and done, is a list the most tangible outcome of decades of UNESCO meetings, formulations, reports, and recommendations? Some of those involved in the process of developing the intangible heritage initiative had hoped for cultural rather than metacultural outcomes; they wanted to focus on actions that would directly support local cul-

old – new

tural reproduction, rather than on creating metacultural artefacts such as the list. James Early, Director of Cultural Heritage Policy for the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and Peter Seitel, Project CoCoordinator for the UNESCO/Smithsonian World Conference, reported their disappointment that ‘UNESCO’s institutional will became focused on adopting the Masterpieces programme as UNESCO’s sole project in a new convention on ICH (Intangible Cultural Heritage)’ that would make the convention a tool for ‘national governments to proclaim the richness of their cultural heritage’, rather than focus on the culture bearers themselves.15 The Call for Action in the proceedings of the 1999 Smithsonian/UNESCO meeting on Safeguarding Traditional Cultures specified a wide range of actions that could be taken with and on behalf of culture bearers.16 While acknowledging the importance of enhancing cultural assets, the Call for Action did not stop there, nor did it specifically recommend the creation of a list of the Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Not only is each word in this phrase highly charged, but also the phrase itself suggests that heritage exists, as such, prior to – rather than as a consequence of – UNESCO’s definitions, listings, and safeguarding measures. I have argued elsewhere that heritage is a mode of cultural production that gives the endangered or outmoded a second life as an exhibition of itself.17 Indeed, one of UNESCO’s criteria for designation as a masterpiece of intangible heritage is the vitality of the phenomenon in question: if it is truly vital, it does not need safeguarding; if it is almost dead, safeguarding will not help. Consistent with the stated criteria, this list of the first nineteen ‘Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ recognizes communities and cultural manifestations not represented on the tangible heritage list, including the oratory, performance, language, and ways of life of indigenous peoples and minorities.18 Responses to UNESCO’s first proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity have been mixed. In an article entitled ‘Immaterial Civilization,’ which appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Cullen Murphy, noting the campaign of Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio to have pizza declared a masterpiece of world heritage, found the UNESCO list underwhelming: ‘These are indisputably worthy endeavors. But the overall impression is of program listings for public television at 3.00 a.m.’ Murphy proceeded to offer candidates of her own for the 2003 list. They included the white lie, the weekend, and the passive voice, among others.19 Such ironic statements index the process by which life becomes heritage and the contemporaneous (those in the present who are

valued for their pastness) becomes contemporary (those of the present who relate to their past as heritage).20 While the white lie, the weekend, and passive voice would not pass the test of being endangered masterpieces, such commentaries are a reminder that a case could be (and has not been) made for the intangible heritage of any community since there is no community without embodied knowledge that is transmitted orally, gesturally, or by example. By making a special place for those left out of the other two World Heritage programmes, UNESCO has created an intangible heritage programme that is also exclusive in its own way (and not entirely consistent with its stated goals). Thus, the Bolshoi Ballet and Metropolitan Opera do not and are not likely to make the list, but Nôgaku, which is not a minority or indigenous cultural form, does make the list. All three involve formal training, use scripts, are the products of literate cultures, and transmit embodied knowledge from one performer to another. Moreover, Japan is well represented on the other world heritage lists and the Japanese Government has been protecting Nôgaku, a Japanese theatre form, as an intangible national property since 1957. By admitting cultural forms associated with royal courts and state-sponsored temples, as long as they are not European, the intangible heritage list preserves the division between the West and the rest and produces a phantom list of intangible heritage, a list of that which is not indigenous, not minority, and not non-Western, though no less intangible.21 World heritage lists arise from operations that convert selected aspects of localized descent heritage into a translocal consent heritage – the heritage of humanity.22 While the candidates for recognition as Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity are defined as traditions – that is, by mode of transmission (orally, by gesture, or by example) – world heritage as a phenomenon is not. As a totality – as the heritage of humanity – it is subject to interventions that are alien to what defines the constituent masterpieces in the first place. World heritage is first and foremost a list. Everything on the list, whatever its previous context, is now placed in a relationship with other masterpieces. The list is the context for everything on it.23 The list is also the most visible, least costly, and most conventional way to ‘do something’ – something symbolic – about neglected communities and traditions. Symbolic gestures like the list confer value on what is listed, consistent with the principle that you cannot protect what you do not value. UNESCO places considerable faith – too much faith, according to some participants in the process – in the power of valorization to effect revitalization.24


old – new

In addition to maintaining the list, UNESCO also selects and supports proposals for various programmes and projects, ‘taking into account the special needs of developing countries.’25 Such projects include documentation, both the preservation of archives and the recording of oral traditions; the creation of research institutes and organization of scientific expeditions; conferences, publications and audiovisual productions; educational programmes; cultural tourism, including the development of museums and exhibitions, restoration of sites, and creation of tourist routes; and artistic activities such as festivals and films. Heritage is metacultural

Whereas the list of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is literally a text, festivals bring living practitioners before a live audience and, in so doing, foreground the agency of those who perform the traditions that are to be safeguarded. Unlike other living entities, whether animals or plants, people are not only objects of cultural preservation but also subjects. They are not only cultural carriers and transmitters (the terms are unfortunate, as is ‘masterpiece’), but also agents in the heritage enterprise itself. What the heritage protocols do not generally account for is a conscious, reflexive subject. They speak of collective creation. Performers are carriers, transmitters, and bearers of traditions, terms which connote a passive medium, conduit, or vessel, without volition, intention, or subjectivity. ‘Living archive’ and ‘library’ are common metaphors. Such terms do not assert a person’s right to what they do, but rather their role in keeping the culture going (for others). According to this model, people come and go, but culture persists, as one generation passes it along to the next. But, all heritage interventions – like the globalizing pressures they are trying to counteract – change the relationship of people to what they do. They change how people understand their culture and themselves. They change the fundamental conditions for cultural production and reproduction. Change is intrinsic to culture, and measures intended to preserve, conserve, safeguard, and sustain particular cultural practices are caught between freezing the practice and addressing the inherently processual nature of culture. Central to the metacultural nature of heritage is time. The asynchrony of historical, heritage, and habitus clocks and differential temporalities of things, persons, and events produce a tension between the contemporary and the contemporaneous, as discussed above, a confusion of evanescence with disappearance, and a paradox – namely, the possession of heritage as a mark of modernity – that is the condition of possibility for the world heritage enterprise. Heritage interventions attempt to slow the rate of change. The Onion, a humour newspaper in the


United States with a national readership, published an article entitled ‘U.S. Dept. of Retro Warns: "We May Be Running Out of Past" ’.26 The article quotes U.S. Retro Secretary Anson Williams: ‘If current levels of U.S. retro consumption are allowed to continue unchecked, we may run entirely out of past by as soon as 2005’ and ‘We are talking about a potentially devastating crisis situation in which our society will express nostalgia for events which have yet to occur.’ In support of these predictions, the article explains that ‘The National Retro Clock currently stands at 1990, an alarming 74% closer to the present than ten years ago, when it stood at 1969.’ As the retro clock speeds up, life becomes heritage almost before it has a chance to be lived and heritage fills the life space. ‘Africa loses a library when an old man dies,’ a quotation from Hampaté Bâ, appears on the opening page of UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage website.27 While affirming the person, the library metaphor confuses archive and repertoire, a distinction that is particularly important to an understanding of intangible heritage as embodied knowledge and practice. According to Diana Taylor, the repertoire is always embodied and is always manifested in performance, in action, in doing.28 The repertoire is passed on through performance. This is different from recording and preserving the repertoire as documentation in the archive. The repertoire is about embodied knowledge and the social relations for its creation, enactment, transmission, and reproduction. It follows that intangible heritage is particularly vulnerable, according to UNESCO, precisely because it is intangible, although the historical record does not necessarily bear this out. Though the situation today is of a different order, Australian Aborigines maintained their ‘intangible heritage’ for over 30,000 years without the help of cultural policy. In contrast with the tangible heritage protected in the museum, intangible heritage consists of cultural manifestations (knowledge, skills, performance) that are inextricably linked to persons. It is not possible – or it is not as easy – to treat such manifestations as proxies for persons, even with recording technologies that can separate performances from performers and consign the repertoire to the archive. While there is a vast literature on the heritage industry, much of it dealing with the politics of heritage,29 less attention has been paid to the enterprise as a metacultural phenomenon in its own right. The great pressure to codify the metacultural operations, to create universal standards, obscures the historically and culturally specific character of heritage policy and practices. In the case of tangible heritage, is the goal to restore an object to its original state to honour the artist’s intention; to present an object in pristine perfection, untouched by time; to treat the object or site as a palimpsest by retaining, as much as possible,

old – new

evidence of historical process, and in processual archeology; to distinguish visually between the original material and what has been done to conserve or restore the object and to make restoration reversible; or to view the material object itself as expendable.30 As long as there are people who know how to build the shrine, it not necessary to preserve a single material manifestation of it, but it is necessary to support the continuity of knowledge and skill, as well as the conditions for creating these objects. The form persists, but not the materials, which are replaced. Finally, the possession of heritage – as opposed to the way of life that heritage safeguards – is an instrument of modernization and mark of modernity, particularly in the form of a museum: ‘To have no museums in today’s circumstances is to admit that one is below the minimum level of civilization required of a modern state.’31 While persistence in old life ways may not be economically viable and may well be inconsistent with economic development and with national ideologies, the valorization of those life ways as heritage (and integration of heritage into economies of cultural tourism) is economically viable, consistent with economic development theory, and can be brought into line with national ideologies of cultural uniqueness and modernity. Fundamental to this process is the heritage economy as a modern economy. For this and other reasons, heritage may well be preferred to the pre-heritage culture (cultural practices prior to their being designated heritage) that it is intended to safeguard. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a world-renowned anthropolo-

gist, is a professor at the Performance Studies Department of the Tisch School of the Arts, New York, where she teaches the history and theory of museums, world fairs and tourism in conjunction with the school’s Museum Studies programme. Her work, Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums and Heritage (1998) explores the museum as a historical formation and emergent medium in relation to its changing role in society. Barbara Kirshenblatt also consults for many museums, most recently the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Warsaw).

1 This text is an excerpt from ‘World Heritage and Cultural Economics’


3 4




forthcoming, in Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations, edited by Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz, with Gustavo Buntinx, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Ciraj Rassool, Lynn Szwaja, and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto,. Reproduced with the authorization of the editors. The project has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Several histories of UNESCO’s heritage initiatives have been written. For a particularly thoughtful account, see Jan Turtinen, Globalising Heritage: On UNESCO, SCORE Rapportserie 12, 2000. ‘Defining our Heritage,’ (last access: 15/01/2003). WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization) is making efforts to deal with these issues as are such organizations as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in Noumea, New Caledonia. See their Regional Framework for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture, 2002. UNESCO, Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore adopted by the General Conference at its twenty-fifth session, Paris, 15 November 1989, http://www.unesco. org/culture/laws/ paris/html_eng/page1.shtml UNESCO, Intangible Heritage, last updated 24 March 2003, http:// index_en.shtml. This formulation is close to the one in UNESCO’s 1989 Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore. Quoted in UNESCO, Report on the Preliminary Study on the Advisability of Regulating Internationally, through a New Standardsetting Instrument, the Protection of Traditional Culture and Folklore,

UNESCO Executive Board, 161st Session, 161 EX/15, PARIS, 16 May 2001. Item 3.4.4 of the provisional agenda, paragraph 26, http:// images/0012/001225/122585e.pdf 8 UNESCO, Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore, op. cit. 9 Intangible Heritage, UNESCO, heritage/intangible/html_eng/index_en.shtml 10 See Musée du Quai Branly,¼2 and Le projet [Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée], 11 See Press kit, ‘Inauguration du pavillon des Sessions, Palais du Louvre’, April 2000, Ministère de l’éducation Nationale, de la Recherche et de la Technologie, doc640.pdf 12 Fénéon, Félix et al.: Iront-ils au Louvre?: Enquête sur des arts lointains [1920]. Reprint edition, Toulouse, Éditions Toguna 2000. 13 This account is based on the most recent draft, as of this writing, of the intangible heritage convention: Consolidated Preliminary Draft Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, third session of the Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on the Preliminary Draft Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Paris, UNESCO Headquarters, 2–14 June 2003. 14 UNESCO Press kit, ‘Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’, intangible_heritage/ and UNESCO, Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, 18 May 2001, http://www. eng/declar. shtml 15 Early, James & Seitel, Peter: ‘UNESCO Meeting in Rio: Steps toward a Convention,’ in: Smithsonian Talk Story, No. 21, Spring 2002, p.13. 16 Seitel, Peter (ed.): Safeguarding Traditional Cultures: A Global Assessment of the 1989 UNESCO Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore. Washington, D.C., Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution 2001. 17 See Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara: ‘Destination Museum’, in: Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. Berkeley, University of California Press 1998, pp.131–176. 18 See Nas, Peter J. M.: ‘Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Culture: Reflections on the UNESCO World Heritage List’, in: Current Anthropology Vol. 43, No. 1, 2002, pp.139–148. 19 Murphy, Cullen: ‘Immaterial Civilization’, in: The Atlantic Monthly Vol. 288, No. 2, 2001, pp.20–22. This gesture is reminiscent of Horace Miner’s classic essay ‘Body Ritual among the Nacirema’ in: American Anthropologist, Vol. 58, No. 3, 1956, pp. 503–7. Nacirema is, of course, American spelled backwards. 20 I am adapting a distinction made by Johannes Fabian in Time and the Other How Anthropology Makes its Object, New York, Columbia University Press, 1983. 21 Good intentions create unintended distortions also familiar in arts funding in the United States, which divide the cultural field so that Western classical and contemporary art is funded through such categories as Dance, Music, Theatre, Opera, Musical Theatre, Literature, and Design, Visual Arts divisions. At the National Endowment for the Arts, everything else goes to Folk and Traditional Arts or Multidisciplinary Arts, which includes ‘interdisciplinary work deeply-rooted in traditional or folk forms that incorporates a contemporary aesthetic, theme, or interpretation’ (http://www.nea. gov/artforms/Multi/Multi2.html). At the New York State Council for the Arts (, the comparable divisions are Folk Arts (‘living cultural heritage of folk art’) and Special Arts Services (support for ‘professional arts activities’ in and for ‘African/ Caribbean, Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander. 22 On the distinction between descent and consent, see Sollors, Werner: Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent, in: American Culture. New York, Oxford University Press 1988. 23 On the list as an instrument of historic preservation, see Schuster, Mark J.: Making a List and Checking It Twice: The List as a Tool of Historic Preservation, CPC [Cultural Policy Centre at the University of Chicago] Working Paper 14, 2002. 24 This is the language in the Consolidated Preliminary Draft Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, third session of the Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on the Preliminary Draft Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Paris, UNESCO Headquarters, 2–14 June 2003. 25 Article 18, 1. Consolidated Preliminary Draft Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage. 26 U.S. Dept. of Retro Warns: ‘We May Be Running out of Past, The Onion Vol. 32, No. 14, 2000. usretro.html 27 Intangible Heritage, UNESCO, heritage/intangible/html_eng/index_en.shtml 28 See Taylor, Diana: ‘Acts of Transfer’, in: The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas. Durham, Duke University Press 2003. 29 See, for example, Lowenthal, David: The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History. London/New York, Penguin Books, Viking 1997, and Nora, Pierre & Lawrence D. Kritzman (eds.): Realms of Memory:


old – new


old – new

Rethinking the French Past. New York, Columbia University Press 1996–1998. 30 See Pearson, Mike & Shanks, Michael: Theatre/Archaeology Disciplinary Dialogues. London, Routledge 2001. 31 Hudson, Kenneth & Nicholls, Ann: The Dictionary of Museums and Living Displays. New York, Stockton Press 1985.



1 “UNESCO-Welterbe” at Chur station with a regional express awaiting passengers for St. Moritz (photo: Hans De Rond) 2 Light show by Gerry Hofstetter at the “Landwasser Viaduct” marking the award of the UNESCO World Heritage Site accolade, 20 September 2008 (© RhB) 3 Placard in Guttannen municipality explaining the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site (source:



old – new


Culture, Tourism and Socio-cultural Animation On the Transformation of a Region Based on the Example of Klangweg Toggenburg by Reto Stäheli Toggenburg is a valley along the upper reaches of the Thur and Necker rivers between Churfirsten and Säntis. In the last decades, it has been confronted with a development that is typical for rural areas in Switzerland; the superannuation of the population, fewer workplaces, migration and suboptimal traffic development pose a great challenge for the region. The Toggenburg spans a fifth of the area of Canton St. Gallen. The population – around 45,000 in 2010 – sank by about three percentage points in the past fifteen years. This trend is continuing in some of the remoter communities. The region’s taxable capacity is significantly below the cantonal average. The only peri-urban centre in the Toggenburg is the community of Wattwil, it is connected by the Ricken Pass and Tunnel to the Linth region and it therefore lies within the sphere of influence of both St. Gallen and Zurich. The two communities Alt St. Johann and Wildhaus in the south of Toggenburg are, due to their location, strongly shaped by tourism but because of their rather modest size (less than 100,000 overnight stays a year) they do not rank as Alpine tourist centres. In the peripheral rural area, the two communities of Ebnat-Kappel and Nesslau-Krummenau constitute a small centre. Tourism in Toggenburg

As far as tourism is concerned, Toggenburg’s advantages lie in the uniqueness of its nature, its cultural landscape and the attendant possibilities of leisure-time and recreation experiences. According to Beritelli, Toggenburg profited from internal tourism in the 1960s and 1970s.1 It was particularly through winter sport tourism that Obertoggenburg experienced an “industrialisation phase” that led to an increase in the capacities of the hotel and catering sector. Today, these are no longer used to the full. The General reasons for this include: the demographic and social change of the domestic market, the expansion and enhancement of access to larger tourist destinations in the Alps (Graubünden, Wallis, Tyrol, Vorarlberg) and Toggenburg’s lack of sufficiently strong

and competitive points of attractions that have an experiential character. Therefore, in the past years, tourism in Toggenburg invested in marketing its nature experiences and targeted internal tourism – especially families and sports enthusiasts. For a long period of time, tourism advertising focused on athletes such as the Olympic champion ski-jumper Simon Ammann, wrestling champion Jörg Abderhalden or the former ski star Maria Walliser as image boosters. Due to the low number of international guests (ca. 30%), Toggenburg strongly depends on internal tourism. On weekends with nice weather there are long lines of motor vehicles bringing day-trippers to the valley. As Beritelli points out, the small variation in prices for accommodation shows us that due to this homogeneity the guests’ willingness to pay cannot be sufficiently exploited and that the positioning and image of the destination, regarding supply and demand, could definitely be optimised. The state and the canton have made great efforts in recent years to enhance the situation in rural areas, including Toggenburg. For example, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs supported Toggenburg by supplying tourism expertise, the promotion of small- and middle-sized businesses, spatial planning and support for agriculture and forestry. In earlier years, the networking project “Toggenburg in Bewegung” was already supported by the state’s “Regioplus” project. This stimulus programme of the SECO (State Office for Economic Affairs) for rural regions also made a significant contribution to institutionalising the cultural project Klangwelt Toggenburg. Currently, discussions are being held over initiatives associated with the Klanghaus – a sub-project of Klangwelt – as well as on the possible choice of a lead hotel, the aim is to identify “new beacons” for Toggenburg. Cultural tourism is a new territory for Toggenburg and this is meant to lend the valley a modern image and prompt a touristic re-launch.

old – new

Rural culture

As regards culture, Toggenburg draws from an extremely rich treasure trove of cultural-historical knowledge, manifested in a large number of objects and activities. One is repeatedly surprised of the ramified networks of rural cultural phenomena. Viewed in a historical context, Kirchgraber2 points out that the basic theme of the 17th century – the denominating conflict between Protestant Toggenburg and Catholicism – was probably decisive for the formation of a specific socio-cultural identity. This had an impact on all businesses of civil life – for example, on the various building structures and/ or everyday activities. The waves of this conflict only calmed down towards the end of the 18th century, when Toggenburg experienced a true cultural heyday, until it was invaded by the French. Thanks to the chronicler and writer Ulrich Bräker (1735–1798), this connection between faith and politics can be autobiographically retraced and one can observe how the region’s socio-cultural identity developed during this time. Bräker’s significance lies mainly in the fact that someone from a social class, of which there are otherwise no records, can be heard here. The written accounts reveal why the construction of the typical wooden log farmhouses is closely connected to faith. The phenomenon of the Toggenburger house organs during pietism also dates from this period. In the 19th century, rural folk culture was predominantly based on French models, in the way that cabinets and chests were painted or regarding the style of the garbs. Drawing from this stock of rural cultural history, the most various culture clubs have been established in recent years, for example clubs that feel associated with the musical tradition of Toggenburg (dulcimer, Toggenburg’s house organ, zithers etc.) or deal with building construction or painting in Toggenburg. On the origin and institutionalisation of Klangweg and Klangwelt Toggenburg

Today, Klangwelt Toggenburg, along with its various sub-projects, counts as a showcase project of sustainable regional development in rural areas. After the turn of the millennium, the idea of Klangwelt Toggenburg made the vibrant musical tradition (yodelling in nature, dulcimer, hand bells, rolling coins, instrument makers and craft, Alpine prayers) the starting point of a strategy designed to counter the disadvantageous development described above. The principle initiator was the local musician, teacher and longstanding cantonal councillor: Peter Roth. The discovery and staging of the population of the Toggenburg as the carrier of an original and lively musical culture took place at a point in time when Swiss folk music in Switzerland was generally heightened by a younger, avant-garde music scene (e.g. by Stimmhorn, Hujässler or Hans Känel). In the founding phase, the initiators succeeded in building the Klangwelt project on four cultural pillars: The Klangweg society was founded with the support of Kulturmobil of the cultural foundation

Pro Helvetia, a former socio-cultural stimulus and animation project of the foundation. The establishment of the societies Klangfestival, Klangkurse and Klanghaus ensued. Since then, the “Naturstimmen” sound festival alternates every two years with the “Alpentöne” festival in Altdorf. The latter is dedicated to more recent transgressions of musical boundaries in folk music, while the festival in Toggenburg deals with voices and sounds of nature in particular. Each year, the society Klangkurse offers a programme of courses on this theme and the society Klanghaus seeks to establish an internationally attractive house of sound on lake Schwendisee above Unterwasser. With the appointment of a managing director, the four societies were later united under the umbrella of “Klangwelt”. This adapted structure provided room for further projects, for example, the Klangschmiede in Alt St. Johann.3 From the onset, the institutionalisation of Klangwelt was accompanied by its own professional marketing – Klangwelt’s PR activities at first differed significantly from the marketing activities of Toggenburg Tourismus. Through the professional staging of a globally oriented “Klangwelt” it was possible to address and attract a new audience beyond the region. A newsletter and the Klangblatt regularly provide information on the newest activities and developments. A promotion concept of the Canton St. Gallen has been in place since 2009. It integrates the marketing plan for Klangwelt and the destination strategy of Toggenburg Tourismus in order to define the approach for developing the structures of the hotel and para-hotel industry in Toggenburg. The concept seeks to develop the skills of enterprises so that they can successfully join the beacon project initiatives (Klangwelt) in Toggenburg. It remains open how the inhabitants of Toggenburg will position themselves vis-à-vis this focused economisation strategy, to what degree the “rural cultural workers” will prove themselves to be responsive and let themselves be harnessed for these internationally oriented marketing goals. The Klangweg and its objectives

The idea of a Klangweg – a hiking trail with sound stations – also originated in the context of Klangwelt. The basic idea was to allow the visitors of the trail to play on different sound installations and make their own music with weatherproof instruments. Initially, there was resistance by the local population and those in charge of the trails in Unterwasser and Wildhaus principally called the objectives, benefits and function of the Klangweg concept into question. The objectives of the Klangweg project were formulated in 2002 by the Klangweg society in collaboration with the socio-cultural project Kulturmobil, financed by Pro Helvetia. The initiator, Peter Roth, asked Kulturmobil to accompany and support the Klangweg idea in its pioneering phase in a sociocultural capacity.


old – new

The main objectives4 consisted “in developing and constructing a trail with sound objects in Obertoggenburg and in the exchange between the locally rooted music tradition and contemporary musicians.” Economic and ecological objectives were derived from this: “The Klangweg project contributes to enhancing the popularity and attractiveness of Toggenburg as a destination and thus ensures the increased value of the hotel and catering industry. Nature and landscapes are preserved, maintained and upgraded in the context of a touristic industry that is closely in touch with nature.” The socio-cultural objective was formulated as follows: “Diverse groups and individuals from the Toggenburg region are actively involved in designing the Klangweg. The Klangweg society is a platform for regional cultural activities and promotes the collaboration between amateurs and professional cultural workers, particularly in the area of music and instrument making. The aim is to promote understanding amongst the population, especially the dialogue between different cultures, generations, genders etc.” Finally, the artistic objectives were outlined: “The sound objects meet high musical and aesthetic criteria. The following criteria, among others, are set to judge the objects: quality, innovation, sustainability, social relevance, compatibility with the landscape, participation of the local population, interdisciplinarity, professionalism, originality etc.” The Klangweg was then realised in stages between 2002 and 2006, expanded each year by new, attractive objects. The number of visitors continuously increased in parallel with these measures. Ten years after the project goals were formulated, one can assess in retrospect which objectives were achieved, what the project effected and the conclusions that are to be drawn. From an economic perspective, the objectives were more or less exceeded. Due to the Klangweg, the railways were able to generate between 20% and 25% more revenue starting around the summer of 2005 and thus significantly increase their utilisation, as well. The hotel industry also profited, albeit to a lower degree. The railways and also Toggenburg Tourismus intensively used the Klangweg as an attractive marketing instrument, especially for the target group of families. From the point of view of the landscape-aesthetic, the objects are well integrated into the landscape, the hiking trails were laid out in a nature-protecting way and almost exclusively follow already existing routes. The volume of the instruments hardly distinguishes itself from the jingling of bells common on an Alpine pasture in the summer. The ecological record of the Klangweg – e.g., the additional car drives to Toggenburg or the soiling of the Klangweg through trash – was not evaluated. In regard to the socio-cultural objectives, it is foremost a democratisation or social cohesion that comes to mind, something that social animators


old – new

aims should the supporting events have? After Kulturmobil withdrew, there was no longer a sociocultural animator. As mentioned, this task was left to the communities and those responsible at Klangwelt. The field of tension between social animation and art


in general must achieve. During the planning of the Klangweg, the local population was repeatedly invited to voice their needs and concerns. It was thus possible to initiate and, by means of various supporting events, promote the objective of collaboration between amateurs and professional, local, cultural workers, particularly in the areas of music and instrument making. The social objectives mentioned (understanding amongst the population, particularly the dialogue between different cultures, e.g., between locals and visitors, between generations, genders etc.) were explicitly strived for and realised, mainly in the initial phase. Yet these objectives were no longer pursued as a priority after the end of the commitment to socio-cultural animation in the Klangweg project. It is also difficult to assess whether the Klangweg achieved the artistic goals. In practice, the fine artist Leo Holenstein was consulted to judge the objects aesthetically and the musician Peter Roth to judge them musically. Later, the artist and musician Lukas Rohner became the artistic director of the Klangweg. A special challenge for jurors was posed when they had to decide which objects were most convincing in the context of the tension between the demands of social animation regarding the local, socio-cultural identity of the population, the proportions of the economic and ecological specifications of the Klangweg society and one’s own aesthetic and musical ambitions. Obviously, compromises had to be made. Lines of conflict emerged in the debate about decisions over which cultural workers were included or not included in the Klangweg or the supporting events in the context of the project development. The following questions, among others, determined the discourse: Which well known “star artists” would advance the project and add the wide appeal important for the project? Which inspiring but perhaps provocative artists should be given the opportunity to perform and what effects should these interventions have on the population? Which cliques from the cultural network of the initiators should be taken into consideration? Which social

The differing positions and attitudes of social animation and art (or the economy), and their different points of view and objectives can lead to incompatibilities. Social animation pursues socio-political goals in a project and initiates participatory processes with groups, while art seeks to achieve the highest artistic quality and retain individual authorship, if possible. While animation must have fairly clear ideas of the socio-political impact that is to be made with (cultural) projects according to its institutional mission, people working in art are aware of the incalculability of art. Art’s quality lies precisely in creating something new, something that has never existed before, the effects of which cannot be gauged in advance. The self-understanding of these cultural workers – not to let themselves be misused by goals they have not chosen themselves and based on their requirement to autonomously develop artworks out of individual and artistic necessity – becomes contradictory when faced with commissions, as was the case in the context of the Klangweg, for instance.

understanding – always tend to reveal as many socio-cultural elements as possible in the process of its development e.g. a good mixture of generations, genders and/or differently educated classes – in regard to the audience, the actors designing sound instruments and the project directors. From this perspective, artistic quality and social relevance are not opposites per se. Understood in this sense, social animation can also be a method to achieve results that are as diverse as possible. In terms of organisation, both Klangweg and Klangwelt increasingly employed methods of cultural management. Voluntary work was replaced by work with allowances (attendance fees); economic issues and the further development of their own institution, with the addition of a management body, were the main emphases of their subsequent professional activities. It is obvious that the marketing of tourism leaves marks behind that have a broad impact, but that are only supported by a small part of the population. Proponents of a rural everyday culture therefore attempt to demarcate themselves from a folk culture that tends to be reshaped and seek their own way between appearance (marketing communication via so-called “authentic folk culture”) and essence (the true local cultural tradition). Furthermore, the resources of migrants, women and youths are hardly taken into account in regional development projects. This task of integration, in the context of opportunities that are offered by a cultural project, is barely recognised by those responsible in the communities. It is instead delegated to welfare work as a “problem”. But cultural projects with social goals usually include educational results that contribute to the wellbeing of large sections of the population. Summary and prospect: change of strategies


An artist thinking in a formally consistent aesthetic way was never and would probably never be willing to make content-related compromises in his or her art due to political or socio-cultural “factual constraints”. In this regard, the artist’s (own) aesthetic is only conditionally negotiable. Artists argue that the criteria for quality of “professional” art are not compatible with the objectives of sociocultural projects. According to the publicist Hermann Glaser, one could argue against this consistently aesthetic position of artists by stating that socio-culture is the essence of culture5. Culture without socio-culture is a culture cored of its essence. A project like the Klangweg should – according to this socio-political

While during the marketing phase of “Tourism and Sport” in the 1980s, rural culture was at best used as an authentic backdrop, Klangwelt, at the end of the millennium, used rural culture as the actual “source”. For example, rural yodelling and singing in the valley were taken up, remoulded as a product and marketed. One can ask whether rural culture was really the only resource in the valley. Under the keyword of cultural diversity one could indeed imagine dealing with the disappearance of industrialisation or the workers’ culture in the region. As it is widely known, these coincide with the last round of Fordism, which in turn could be associated with the end of classical mass tourism. Textile labour in the valley, especially the tradition of weaving and embroidery but also craft businesses and the catering trade, had brought a number of actors with a background of migration to the valley. Viewed in this light, many attractive themes could be offered under “Culture in Toggenburg” which could ultimately become starting points of a new strategy. However, they hardly play


old – new

a role in the current considerations regarding promotion concepts dedicated to regional development. One of the major resources of Toggenburg consists in the many craft businesses and the great expertise of the employees in this trade. An interdisciplinary co-operation between architects, designers, artists, crafts-persons and other interested members of the population in connection with the knowledge of the region’s historical interrelations and also the knowledge of the region’s numerous natural beauties could lead to a new awareness of a regional art of construction, as it is already relatively widespread in the Vorarlberg, for example. This could also serve as a good example for Toggenburg – how the development of the region with social aims could progress and radiate far beyond the region. Analogously to the efforts of tourism promotion – the training of catering businesses, for example – one could also picture initiating such a “space of interaction” dedicated to the themes of society, handicraft and the art of construction. Of course, the needs of the local population would have to be determined in preliminary discussions. Furthermore, such an interdisciplinary educational and cultural initiative would have to be financially supported by the canton. The South Tyrolean artist and sociologist Hans Glauber, who initiated a discourse on values, culture and lifestyles in Tyrol with his Toblacher Talks, defined a broad concept of beauty that in the medium term could be used as orientation for Toggenburg, as well: “The beauty of the right scale, of omitting, of less, of carefully treating resources, but also the beauty of ecological and cultural diversity, of rediscovered local identity and the beauty of the post-industrial and solar age are manifestations of a beauty that goes hand in hand with a sustainable life.”6 To approach a theme implies seeking to do justice, as far as possible, to the complexity of the subject matter that is articulated in the diversity of relations and entwinements. The intersection of cultural encounters at the Klangweg leads to an open space of interaction in which many cultural actors come in contact with each other and effect change. By its population – from the inside – Toggenburg is recognised and defined as a geographical or territorial area with a relatively stable socio-cultural identity, while seen from the outside, by cultural studies, art and socio-cultural animation, the focus of observation is on the dynamism of interacting constellations under the living conditions of a globalised world. Using the example of Klangwelt, one can show how old social spaces are replaced by new ones, how “culture”, with its economically, historically and socially legitimate fields, has increasingly defined the scale and size of these intersections. This change in Toggenburg from “Tourism and Sports” to


old – new

“Culture and Tourism” runs the risk of misusing people and their cultural activities, but it also offers the opportunity to develop and shape new spaces of interaction concerned with topical issues. Reto Stäheli is project director and lecturer at the Institut für

Soziokulturelle Entwicklung (ISE), Hochschule Luzern – Soziale Arbeit. He studied ethnology at the University of Zurich and was trained to become a supervisor and organisational consultant (BSO) at the MAS Kulturmanagement Universität Basel. Longstanding sociocultural animator/project director at Kulturmobil of the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia, freelance activities (cultural concepts, consultant for cultural institutions, conception and organisation of cultural events, educational days etc.); publications (selection): “Transformationen – Das Verhältnis von Soziokultureller Animation zu Kultur und Kunst”, in: Soziokulturelle Animation (Bernard Wandeler, ed.), Lucerne, Interact Verlag 2010; “Jugendkulturen haben grosses kreatives Potential” in: Schulblatt Nidwalden 2/2010 (Erziehungsdirektion des Kanton Nidwalden, ed.); “Kultur und Aufbauhilfe in Südosteuropa”, in: Integrale Projektmethodik (Alex Willener, ed.), Lucerne, Interact Verlag 2007; “Luthern” in: Kultur in Bewegung (Pro Helvetia, ed.), Zurich, Chronos Verlag 2001.

Beetz, Stephan; Brauer, Kai & Neu, Claudia: Handwörterbuch zur ländlichen Gesellschaft in Deutschland. Wiesbaden, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2005. Beritelli, Pietro; Engeler, Isabelle & Reinhold, Stephan: Impulsprogramm für die Beherbergung im Toggenburg. St. Gallen, HSG St. Gallen 2009. Glaser, Hermann: Soziokultur und Kultur, in: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen No. 121, II/2008, p. 50–52. Glauber, Hans (ed.): Langsamer, weniger, besser, schöner: 15 Jahre Toblacher Gespräche: Bausteine für die Zukunft. Munich, Ökom Verlag 2006. Kirchgraber, Jost: Kunst der Möbelmalerei. Baden, hier + jetzt – Verlag für Kultur und Geschichte 2011. Kirchgraber, Jost: Das bäuerliche Toggenburger Haus und seine Kultur. St. Gallen, VGS Verlagsgenossenschaft 1990. Stäheli, Reto: Transformationen – Das Verhältnis von Soziokultureller Animation zu Kultur und Kunst, in: Bernard Wandeler (ed.): Soziokulturelle Animation. Lucerne, Interact Verlag 2010, p. 226–262. Strobel, Bettina; Sterzing, Dorit & Sann, Alexandra: Niedrigschwellige Familienbildung im ländlichen Raum. Munich, DJI-Reihe 2009, p. 25ff. 1 Beritelli, Pietro; Engeler, Isabelle & Reinhold, Stephan: Impuls-


3 4 5 6

programm für die Beherbergung im Toggenburg. St. Gallen, HSG St. Gallen 2009. Kirchgraber, Jost: Das bäuerliche Toggenburger Haus und seine Kultur. St. Gallen, VGS Verlagsgenossenschaft 1990. Kirchgraber, Jost: Kunst und Möbelmalerei. Baden, hier + jetzt – Verlag für Kultur und Geschichte 2011. For further information see: Source: Konzept Klangweg, Kulturmobil Pro Helvetia, 2002. Glaser, Hermann: Soziokultur und Kultur, in: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen No. 121, II/2008, p. 50–52. Glauber, Hans (ed.): Langsamer, weniger, besser, schöner: 15 Jahre Toblacher Gespräche: Bausteine für die Zukunft. Munich, Ökom Verlag 2006, p. 3.

1–3 On the way on the Klangweg Toggenburg in Alt St. Johann (photos: Nicole Wangeler)



old – new


In The Centre Thoughts on Berlin’s Current Cultural and Historical Tourism by Marion von Osten In March 2011, 72,000 bottles of Efes beer were transported from Turkey to Germany, to the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. The cardboard boxes filled with beer bottles were stacked in a pyramid with uniform steps. Exhibition visitors could walk onto, occupy and drink from the sculpture made of beer crates. What remained was a “ruin of beer boxes bedded on shards of glass”. With the exhibition title: The Recovery of Discovery, and with a UNESCO logo on the invitation card, the French artist Cyprien Gaillard raised the question about the historical images that are currently being produced in Berlin through concepts of musealization. The work made reference to the relations of import and export and the culture of the spectacle that accompanied the excavation of the Pergamon Altar, the construction of the museum and the Master Plan Museum Island 2015. The installation makes reference to the connection between cultural tourism and consumption and to the branding of Berlin as a hip art metropolis. Is Gaillard’s “Ruin” – since it is a work of art – also worthy of protection and suitable for a museum collection or is it ultimately just the trash of an opening party? After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, culture has become the central resource of Berlin’s city marketing. A study from 2009 revealed that the proportion of museum visitors among the city tourists has multiplied in the past ten years.1 Queues in front of museums and temporary exhibitions are as common as they are in front of the Reichstag. The joining of collections from East and West Berlin and the reconstruction of the Museum Island in the centre of Berlin play a crucial role in Berlin’s city tourism. This has cost the highly indebted city around 233 million euros. In 1990 the aim of uniting and presenting all archaeological collections together on the Museum Island was already formulated in the concept of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. In 1998 the Museum Island planning group was established. Under the aegis of David Chipperfield Architects, various architecture offices were subsequently commissioned to develop restoration and usage for the individual buildings. In 1999 the UNESCO placed the Museum Island Berlin under protection as a World Cultural Heritage site. In the future, the island in the Spree River, which spans close to one square kilometre, is to

present “the art and culture of more than 600,000 years of human history in a temple city”, as the information text on the project Master Plan Museum Island 2015 states.2 Under the direction of the Oswald Mathias Ungers architectural office, the Pergamon Museum will also be restored and enlarged in phases. This is the tourist attraction that Cyprien Gaillard refers to in his work shown at KW Institute for Contemporary Art. The new museum is designed as a building with three wings, which will house the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the Museum of the Ancient Near East and the Museum of Islamic Art. The Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate including the Processional Way of Babylon and the Mshatta Facade will be brought together in one museum that spatially and thematically links the different collections through an “Archaeological Promenade”. According to the website of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the thematic band connecting the cultures of the ancient occidental world is to be made experienceable for the exhibition visitors.3 This rewriting of history is also the subject of Cyprien Gaillard’s work: The Recovery of Discovery. It references the geopolitical and historical colonial relations that are insufficiently addressed or disregarded in the “Archaeological Promenade” on the Spree. Pergamon was an ancient Greek city near the western coast of Asia Minor. Today it is called Bergama and is situated in Turkey. Since 1936 there has been an archaeological museum there that now collects together the finds from the excavations of the ancient city. Until the outbreak of the First World War, a large part of the excavations at Bergama were sent to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, which was built specifically for this purpose, while only a small part came to the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul, which opened in 1981. The self-proclaimed “discoverer” of the Pergamon frieze was Carl Humann, a railway engineer who, as a young man, was involved in constructing a railway line in the Ruhr region. Later, he attended the Building-Academy in Berlin, where he learned how to draw based on ancient models. In 1861 Humann travelled to Constantinople to realise projects for the Ottoman government such as the detailed mapping of Palestine (part of the Ottoman Empire since the 16th century) and of the eastern Balkans.

old – new

Since he had already participated in excavations on the island of Samos and with the help of a small expedition, he was able to find two fragments of a frieze, which he then sent to Berlin to be examined.4 The director of the department for ancient sculptures at the Royal Museums of Berlin, the archaeologist Alexander Conze, initiated the large-scale excavations, during which parts of the Zeus Altar and several sculptures were found. Based on an agreement with the Ottoman government, the finds from the excavations at Pergamon could be transported to Berlin via Hamburg.5 The significance of the excavations for the German nation-state was, however, anything but a purely scientific-archaeological one. The Pergamon Museum in Berlin was built for the purpose of competing with the Parthenon frieze of the London British Museum, already in its first version and also in the second version of the building (1901– 1909 and between 1910 and 1930).6 The building of museums and the activity of collecting in the 19th and early 20th centuries must be read against the backdrop of a period in which the imperialist European cultural nations were forging their distinct identities. The early Enlightenment had already imagined antiquity as the ideal societal form. With its rediscovery, the history of Europe was rewritten as the “cradle of mankind” with the ancient high cultures as its origin. Since the 18th century, European ancient historians and orientalists had gone on study trips to the ancient cities of Italy, Greece and Asia Minor, this gave rise to a sort of early form of tourism. Ancient sites were visited, drawn and copied. A longing for antiquity had already existed in the Renaissance and Baroque period, but it bloomed as a German ideal in the context of building a nation-state and the aesthetic movement of classicism. Antiquity became the foundation of Winckelmann’s historiography of art, the educational canon of European art and building academies as well as of the teaching and research at the Humboldt University in Berlin.7 Moreover, the intergovernmental agreements and the attendant transfers between the Prussian and Ottoman Empires ranged from the transport of the Pergamon Altar, to military training by Prussian officers and to construction, engineering work and financial investments. Through the Berlin Congress of 1878, the Prussian military missions and the participation in the construction of the Bagdad Railway, the German Empire had become a central political partner for the Ottoman sultan.8 The Bagdad Railway, which was planned by the German railway engineer Wilhelm Pressel for Sultan Abdülhamid II, was a project that competed with the British and Russian infrastructure projects, such as the Suez Canal and the railway projects in Iran. The project led not only to Germany and Turkey edging closer to each other, but also to Great Britain, France and Russia

doing the same. These alliances resulted in expanding the spheres of influence of the territorial occupations in the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East and were crucial factors leading to the outbreak of the First World War.9 The expansion of roads and railway lines facilitated not only the transport of mineral resources but also the acceleration of troop movements. This simultaneously propelled the territorial expansion of the colonial powers and the consequent travel as early forms of cultural tourism.10 Babylon

“During my first stay in Babylon on 3rd and 4th of June, 1897, and my second visit from 29th to 31st December, 1897, I had seen numerous fragments of enamelled brick reliefs, of which I took several back to Berlin. The unique beauty and the art-historical importance of these pieces (…) contributed to the decision to excavate the capital of the Babylonian world empire,” writes the archaeologist Robert Koldewey in one of his letters.11 According to myth, the Ishtar Gate that he excavated, a part of the Babylonian city walls, belonged to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In this case, too, the Berlin museums had agreed with the Ottoman antiquities administration to ship the finds to the Kupfergraben in Berlin for “appropriate treatment and assembly”. Such unusual agreements were only possible, however, because the Middle East was an Ottoman colonial territory. For example, Sultan Abdülhamid II could only give the desert castle of Mshatta, built in 744 near today’s Jordanian capital, as a gift to the German Emperor Wilhelm II in Berlin, because Jordan then stood under Ottoman rule. Neither the ancient Greek city architecture nor the Mesopotamian city gate and a Jordanian desert castle seemed to have had enough symbolic importance to the Ottomans’ own self-staging that they couldn’t be given as a gift, removed and shipped. In contrast, for the nationalistic self-staging of the German Empire, as a place of occidental high culture, the archaeological finds were sought-after requisites. Koldewey’s excavations ended in 1917, when British troops invaded Bagdad.12 In the age of imperialism and colonialism, archaeology, modern engineering, strategic military considerations and the disciplines of art and building history were inextricably linked. The construction of roads and railways, the longing for antiquity, travels to the orient and excavations were therefore constitutive of modernity.13 Whether the application for the Berlin Museum Island to be recognised as a World Cultural Heritage site addressed the imperialist background of Prussia’s history of collecting is questionable. In its restaging in the 21st century, it is not only disregarded but rewritten.


old – new


Since September 2011, a panorama of ancient Pergamon has been on display in a temporary rotunda in front of the Pergamon Museum in which the historical city in late-Roman times is scenically and acoustically simulated by the “Kreuzberg artist” Yadegar Asisi. The Pergamon panorama – as it is stated in the press release – is to become the highlight of the current exhibition season. A platform in the middle of the panorama acts as a viewing deck and provides an overview for visitors. Before panoramas became popular pictorial means in the 19th century, they were already used as a geographical form of representation alongside maps, reliefs and profiles. With the popularisation of the panorama at the end of the 19th century, the viewpoint of the observer is shifted to the centre of the 360° depiction. The panorama, as a popular cultural staging of the 19th century, easily fits in with the image and museum politics of the 21st century. It joins the elements of Berlin architecture that are staged as “sightseeing” instead of construction sites and set themselves up as expansive prospectuses for planned large-scale projects like, for example, the Humboldt-Box. This is meant to popularise the Humboldt Forum: “The Humboldt-Box is a temporary information centre for the Humboldt Forum project,” it is presented on two floors “excitingly designed thematic modules leading around the globe.” 14 The Humboldt-Box that opened in June 2011 or the facade of the Berlin City Palace printed on fabric elucidate the politics of Berlin’s new city centre. The latter, the fabric facade, hung there until a resolution from the Bundestag decided on the demolition of the Palace of the Republic and the reconstruction of the Berlin City Palace facade, despite protests by the population. Yet officially, one hears little about the problematic symbolic power of the Berlin City Palace in the history of the German authoritarian state. After long negotiations, a use was found for the controversial reconstruction of the building’s shell: In addition to parts of the Central and Regional Library of Berlin and the scientific collections of the Humboldt University, the collections of non-European art and culture are to be brought together here under the label “Humboldt Forum” – a further concept of the Master Plan 2015 that is mainly oriented towards the growing segment of cultural tourism and promotes these kinds of neoconservative posits. The ancient, Islamic and occidental cultures will now be connected by an “Archaeological Promenade” to the “cradle of Europe” to juxtapose them with the “non-European” collections in the Humboldt Forum. According to the initiators, “major themes of mankind” are to be negotiated in the planned Humboldt Forum with the collections of the Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art.15


The first collections of the Ethnological Museum are from the cabinet of rarities and wonders of the 17th-century Electors of Brandenburg. The navy of Electoral Brandenburg under Elector Friedrich Wilhelm (1640–1688) emerged to become the “Brandenburgisch-Afrikanische Companie (BAC)” that, also serving an Otto Friedrich von der Groeben, for 30 years had the Brandenburg monopoly on trading in western Africa with pepper, ivory, gold and slaves, as well as the right to establish its own outposts on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas or in Mauretania. The first Electoral collection of “rarities from distant parts of the world” became the “Königlich Preussische Kunstkammer” (Royal Prussian Cabinet of Wonders) and was renamed “Ethnographic Collection” in 1829. In the mid 19th century it was relocated to the Neue Museum on the Museum Island and in 1886 it received its own building near Potsdamer Platz and was called “Museum für Völkerkunde” (Museum of Ethnology). At the same time, the German Empire began purchasing claims to so-called protectorates in parts of today’s Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, Namibia, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Somalia and South Africa, followed by colonies in Southeast Asia, Papua-New Guinea, the Salomon Islands, the Marshall and Palau Islands, Micronesia, Samoa and China. Most of these areas were ceded to other European colonial powers at the beginning of the First World War in 1914 or afterwards in 1919. In 1920 the Imperial Colonial Office was disbanded, but re-established again in 1924 as a colonial department in the Foreign Office, followed in 1934 by the Colonial Political Office under the National Socialists with the “Gleichschaltung” (forcible coordination) of the colonial organisations in the Reichskolonialbund (Reich Colonial League) and the installation of a colonial press office. Until 1940 colonial exhibitions took place in Chemnitz, Cologne, Wiesbaden, Nuremberg, Freiburg, Eisenach, Königsberg and Meersburg. A number of colonial films were commissioned by the National Socialists, including Die Reiter von Deutsch-Ostafrika (1934), Kongo Express (1939) and Carl Peters (1941). The collective amnesia accompanying the omission of any public debate concerning Berlin’s history of collecting in the context of German nationalism, imperialism and its colonial history did not remain without comment from intellectuals and artists. In 2009 the group Alexandertechnik announced its public protest events as follows: “All official statements by those in charge reveal that the Humboldt Forum is not concerned with reflecting on the violence that was exerted by Europe against the rest of the world in the wake of colonialism. Instead, otherness is ontologised, serving to demonstrate the sovereignty and cosmopolitanism of the exhibiting nations. (…) Precisely in such a context (Berlin City Palace), the ‘cultural treasures’ from around the world are to demonstrate the open-mindedness

old – new

of the self-proclaimed ‘culture nation’. Such a re-contextualisation at this symbolically charged location in direct proximity to the Museum Island with its collections of ‘classical high cultures’ is what we call the misuse of non-European arts and cultures.” 16

and in Europe. Many of them did not survive the transport or the slavery.18 After protracted political debates, also in the media, the civil-societal initiative was able to enforce the renaming of the street from Gröbenufer to May-Ayim-Ufer. May Ayim was an activist of the Afro-German movement.19


Making the interrelations between colonial rule and today’s global relations visible has become a socially contested field, in which small organisations and artistic interventions have gained special importance. Initiatives have emerged from local community work and the movement of the history workshops of the 1970s that understand urban space as a location of historiography and intervene on site with mobile exhibitions. Yet today, this has also become – not only in Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain – part of a mediation strategy of official city and state politics and substantially contributes to the booming cultural tourism. In parallel, historical references in contemporary art – e.g. in the work of Cyprien Gaillard and others – have become the material of artistic interventions. These developments must be situated in the context of the wave of historicization in which district initiatives, city and state governments participate and in the frame of which the entire city turns into an exhibition, a “living museum”. The UNESCO with its “World Cultural Heritage” programme plays a leading role in this development. The programme has been active since 1972 and today places entire urban ensembles or even cultural practices under “protection”: Places become living museums, from the Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv’s centre, to Berlin’s Museum Island and even to the sound on Marrakesh’s Djemaa el Fna Square. Since the label of World Cultural or Natural World Heritage Site is accompanied by a huge touristic surplus value, cities and regions throughout the world compete in having their “world heritage” labelled worthy of protection. Due to this historicization and musealization trend of the past 30 years, the question as to who writes history and what is described, what is to be protected and what to be destroyed, has become an antagonistic field, in which increasingly heated debates between hegemonic and marginal narratives and actors are being, and must be, held.

When I look out the window of my flat in Kreuzberg in the evening, I see a flow of young hostel guests and newcomers to Berlin crossing the Oberbaum Bridge with beer bottles in their hands. During some nights, the noise of shattering bottles keeps me awake. During the day, visitors from all over the world stroll through the neighbourhood and marvel at multiculturalism, they eat Indian food and view the last fragment of the Berlin Wall on the other side of the Spree River. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Wall, an exhibition in public space reminds viewers that prior to 1989 children playing on the river bank on the western (Kreuzberg) side and people attempting to flee to the west from the Friedrichshain side drowned due to the unclear responsibilities regarding the Spree. Posters convey to the Berlin tourists that the metro line ended at Schlesisches Tor and that this part of the city was a dead end. It is not related what this meant for the city district. There was hardly a West Berliner who wanted to move here after 1961, after it became a border area. In the 1960s, the city government supported the influx of labourers – mainly from Turkey – to districts close to the sector border such as Kreuzberg 36 or Wedding. Students, Marxists, hippies, punks and autonomists from Western Europe and the United States also moved to Kreuzberg. Due to the location of the area and the low rents, an alternative living space evolved on the island of West Berlin. Young Berliners and men who moved here did not have to do military service. This special status of West Berlin was, on one hand, an effect of the construction of the Wall, on the other hand, it is due to the continuing absence of a peace treaty. The memorial plaques do not mention this. They recall neither the Internationale Bauausstellung (International Architecture Exhibition) in the 1980s that lead to the Görlitzer Park and new models for council housing, nor the squatters’ movement, which is part of the history of the Wall. Due to the recent renaming of the riverside street (Gröbenufer) on the Spree by the civil-societal initiative “Berliner Entwicklungspolitischer Ratschlag” I now know that in this street, constructed in 1891, a pier for pleasure boats had been integrated, after which it was then called “Gröbenufer”.17 In 1683 Otto Friedrich von der Groeben, as the head of a West Africa expedition, had founded upon the order of the Great Elector the Brandenburg colony Gross Friedrichsburg in today’s Ghana, from where more than 30,000 Africans were shipped to do slave labour in the Caribbean

Marion von Osten is an artist, author and exhibition organiser. Founding member of Labor k3000 Zurich, kpD (kleines postfordistisches Drama) and CPKC (Center for Post-Colonial Knowledge and Culture), Berlin. From 2006–2012 professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. From 1999–2006 professor and researcher at the Institut für Theorie der Gestaltung und Kunst at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zurich. From 1996–1998 curator at the Shedhalle Zurich; publications (selection): “Colonial Modern” (with Tom Avermate & Serhat Karakayali), 2010; “Das Erziehungsbild” (with Tom Holert), 2010; “Projekt Migration” (with Kölnischer Kunstverein et al.), 2005; “Norm der Abweichung, T:G04”, 2003; “MoneyNations” (with Peter Spillmann), 2003; “Das Phantom sucht seinen Mörder. Ein Reader zur Kulturalisierung der Ökonomie” (with Justin Hoffmann), 1999.

This text is based on a catalogue contribution to the show: The Recovery of Discovery by Cyprien Gaillard at KW Contemporary Art Berlin, 2011. 1 Schlag, Marion: Berlin baut auf Kulturtourismus, 22 October, 2009.

See:,200012169348.html (last access 05/22/2012)


old – new

2 See: (last access 05/22/2012) 3 See:

museumsinsel.php?navid=50 (last access 07/21/2012) 4 Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, TA I HA Rep. 89, Nr. 14456, Bl. 191–196. 5 Cf. Kunze, Max: Der Pergamonaltar. Seine Geschichte, Entdeckung und Rekonstruktion. Mainz, 1995. Dörner, Eleonore & Dörner, Friedrich Karl: Von Pergamon zum Nemrud Dag. Die archäologischen Entdeckungen Carl Humanns. Mainz, [1989] 1991. 6 Heilmeyer, Wolf-Dieter (ed.): Der Pergamonaltar. Die neue Präsentation nach Restaurierung des Telephosfrieses. Berlin/Tübingen, 1997. 7 Cf. Böhme, Hartmut & Toepfer, Georg (ed.): Transformationen antiker Wissenschaften (Transformationen der Antike, Vol. 15). Berlin/New York, 2010. Bredekamp, Horst: Antikensehnsucht und Maschinenglaube. Die Geschichte der Kunstkammer und die Zukunft der Kunstgeschichte. Berlin, 1993. 8 The railway was constructed under decisive participation of the building enterprise Philipp Holzmann AG, the Friedrich Krupp AG, Borsig, Cail, Hanomag, Henschel and Maffei. See: Manzenreiter, Johann: Die Bagdadbahn als Beispiel für die Entstehung des Finanzimperialismus in Europa (1872–1903) (Bochumer historische Studien, Neuere Geschichte, 2). Bochum, 1982. 9 Cf. Besirli, Mehmet: Die europäische Finanzkontrolle im Osmanischen Reich der Zeit von 1908 bis 1914. Die Rivalitäten der britischen, französischen und deutschen Hochfinanz und der Diplomatie vor dem ersten Weltkrieg am Beispiel der türkischen Staatsanleihen und der Bagdadbahn. Berlin, 1999. Corrigan, H. S. W.: German-Turkish Relations and the Outbreak of War in 1914: A Re-Assessment, in: Past and Present 36, April 1967, p. 144–152. Van Laak, Dirk: Imperiale Infrastruktur. Deutsche Planungen für eine Erschliessung Afrikas 1880 bis 1960. Paderborn, 2004. Khairallah, Shereen: Railways in the Middle East 1856–1948: Political and Economic Background. Beirut, 1991. 10 See: Bickel, Benno: Mit Agatha Christie durch die Schluchten des Taurus. Die Bagdadbahn im Spiegel der Literatur und des Reiseberichts, in: Jürgen Franzke (ed.): Bagdadbahn und Hedjazbahn. Deutsche Eisenbahngeschichte im Vorderen Orient. Nuremberg, 2003, p. 120–124. These travel activities mainly consisted in educational and research trips. As early as the 19th century, professors at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris sent entire generations of students to the Mediterranean region to chart not only ancient sites but also the different building methods and styles. The orientalistic fixation on Mediterranean, Arabian and Asian building cultures included not only the architecture of the rulers but also profane building ensembles and vernacular structures that went on to have a decisive influence on modernism. On the one hand, educational and research tours to North Africa and the Middle East thus shaped the formal vocabulary of the “white cubes”, and on the other, as the artist Kader Attia shows based on Le Corbusier’s trip to Algeria, the understanding of modern urban development. In 1911 young Le Corbusier, as many before him, had gone on a Grand Tour of Italy, Greece and Asia Minor marking the start of his travel activities and vernacular urban research. See: Attia, Kader: Signs of Reappropriation, in: Tom Avermaete, Serhat Karakayali & Marion von Osten (eds.): Colonial Modern. Aesthetics of the Past. Rebellions for the Future. London, 2010. Nicolai, Bernd & Minta, Anna (eds.): Modernity and Early Cultures. Reconsidering non western references for modern architecture in a cross-cultural perspective (Neue Berner Schriften zur Kunst, Vol. 12). Bern, 2011. 11 Koldewey, Robert: Die Tempel von Babylon und Borsippa: nach den Ausgrabungen durch die Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft (Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft in Babylon, Vol. 1). Leipzig 1911, p. 36. 12 During the Iraq wars of 1990/91 and 2003 waged by the United States along with NATO member states, fears were repeatedly voiced regarding the museum collections in the Iraq Museum, the “heritage of humanity”. Today’s National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad was reopened for one day in 2009. The reconstruction became a transnational endeavour of high political status in which the United Nations were involved. 13 Cf. Said, Edward: Culture and Imperialism, New York 1994. Koldewey counts not only as the decisive archaeologist for the excavations of the brick fragments of the walls of the Ishtar Gate and the Procession Way in front of it – today still standing at the Kupfergraben in Berlin – but also as the founder of modern historical construction research. He was in close exchange with the director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Alfred Lichtwark, who was instrumental in asserting modern art in Germany. 14 See: (last access 05/22/2012) 15 See: and (last access 05/22/2012) 16 See: (last access 05/22/2012) 17 Mende, Hans-Jürgen (ed.): Lexikon ‘Alle Berliner Strassen und Plätze’ – Von der Gründung bis zur Gegenwart, Band 2. Berlin, 1998, p. 145.


old – new


18 Cf. Van der Heyden, Ulrich: Rote Adler an Afrikas Küste.

Die brandenburgisch-preussische Kolonie Grossfriedrichsburg in Westafrika [1993]. Berlin, 2001. 19 Cf. Ayim, May: Die afro-deutsche Minderheit [1997], in: Susan Arndt (ed.): AfrikaBilder. Studien zu Rassismus in Deutschland. Münster, 2001, p. 71–86. Loh, Hannes: 20 Jahre ‘Afrodeutsch’. Ein Exkurs über Sprache, Hiphop und Verantwortung, 19 February, 2003, at: http://www.intro. de/kuenstler/interviews/23013581/20-jahre-afrodeutsch-ein-exkursueber-sprache-hiphop-und-verantwortung (last access 09/01/2013).

T r o p i c a l I s l a n d s a n d t h e C o l o n i s at i o n o f t h e Sp r e e wa l d BY Jochen Becker “Into the dust with all the enemies of Brandenburg” is the line ending the theatre play Prince Frederick of Homburg. This is how Heinrich von Kleist, who in 1811 shot himself on the shore of the Wannsee because of lovesickness, describes the desert surrounding the big city. Sandy ground, grit box, no-go area for foreigners, 1 it is said in the metropolis, that it is as if the Brandenburg variant of a spaghetti western were on display there. Here, almost everything was built upon sandy ground, not only in a figurative sense: The major airport Jüterborg, the Lausitz-Ring (later EuroSpeedway), the Landesentwicklungsgesellschaft (land development association) Brandenburg, the chip factory and now First Solar in Frankfurt / Oder or the production of the freight zeppelins called CargoLifter – these are all but a few of the largescale projects that went bust and with which Brandenburg’s state government had its decentralised development policy, which has meanwhile been revised, cast into concrete. Even Tropical Islands: forward looking and equipped with a pluralistic calling for new offshoots, is by no means secure. “A dream, what else”, Kottwitz replies. Prince Frederick Arthur von Homburg passes out. Brand in Brandenburg

“Do you blossom for us, oh future, after such painful suffering?” An extract from: the Lusatia Hymn, the region’s unofficial hymn Tropical Islands is located an hour away, when taking the regional express train from Berlin’s new main station. Minutes before arriving one can already see the hangar. The platforms of the stop in Brand – I was there for the first time during the Football World Cup 2006 – were currently being renovated, but the station always appears as if it were permanently closed. The stop was once built in the middle of the forest and was used to transport wood. Every half hour a bus waits to transfer guests free of charge. Across the new bridge, which connects Tropical Islands with the nearby motorway to Berlin, Dresden and Cottbus, a straight track leads to the turn-off. In its last phase, this used to be a prohibited military zone, a no-go area governed by the Soviets. In this respect, private-economy initiative has created a public space here, after more than seventy years, which – amid forests and lakes – promises a second nature “without closing times” and with an admission fee.

The former CargoLifter assembly hall for the gigantic airship is situated in the middle of a huge cleared area. An airfield was located here ever since 1938: first an “aviator school”, then, during World War II, a location for transport aircraft and fighter plane squadrons and finally, starting in 1945, the largest military airport in the GDR that predominantly served the Soviet forces. A spacious access system with car parks laid out for large crowds leads to the entrance hidden behind the hall. Here, one can discern artificial hills at the edge of the forest; grass-covered bunkers for military jets. The double runways disappear behind a curvature in the landscape in the direction of the railway track. Apart from that, the former military grounds are entirely cleared of so-called hazardous waste. For this purpose the Federal State of Brandenburg performed preliminary work such as the large-scale removal of ammunition rests, scrap and kerosene tanks, after the Red Army no longer had the status of an occupying force and withdrew eastwards to the crumbling CIS. The decontaminated area appears to lack a history, since its origin during the Cold War can hardly be detected. The entrance of Tropical Islands makes an oddly banal impression at first sight: the front hall is an empty field, then a deserted information stand on the Spreewald, the old model of the CargoLifter hall and a few seating arrangements. While changing, I hear a family next to me speak Polish – or is it the Slavonic Sorbian that some people can still speak in the Lusatia region? How large is the area served, anyway? The border to Poland is not very far. Press releases imagined the low-fare airport BerlinSchönefeld as a customer-traffic generator for Tropical Islands, thus expanding the area served by easyJet destinations. In reality though, the visitors on weekends, extra days off between holidays and during the holiday season seem to come from Berlin and Saxony. At first it is not easy to find one’s bearings in the hall. One has to walk all the way around a hill in the centre covered with all kinds of tropical plants to finally access the changing rooms beneath it. The changing rooms look like a car park or the data centre of a bank, with their sparse furnishing and the rows of more than 6,000 lockers. Then you go one storey higher through a school stairwell and here you can look down on the large lake from the gallery. This is where the swimming pool of my youth ends and an adventure bath begins – except that


old – new

everything’s a bit larger than usual. We immediately get lost in the rainforest, where the paths are laid out like spaghettis to reach a total length of one kilometre. There are slightly muted chirps and cries from loudspeakers. The sprinklers of the automatic trickling installation can also be clearly seen. From here, one has a view of the expansion works, which were being performed near the entrance in the summer of 2006: a sauna landscape with wellness offers and a children’s playground were to be built. In 2005 the Federal State of Brandenburg had provided 15 million Euros as additional promotion funds for them.



Lower Spreewald

“The first generation slaves to death, the second is impoverished, the third finds bread.” Saying from the time when the Spreewald was colonised Brandenburg is sandy, but in some places it is also a marshland that first had to be drained. In the 17th and 18th centuries, due to the major settlement undertakings of the kings Frederick Wilhelm I. and his successor Frederick the Great, the land was drained by means of canals. The systematic colonisation was meant to boost the significance of this sparsely populated region, because it was recognised that not only the conquest of ever-new territories but also, as Frederick II said: “the number of


underlings make up the wealth of the state”. His father, Frederick Wilhelm from the House of Hohenzollern, already demanded that the “population of the country be increased by settlements of foreigners” and he had French Huguenots, Dutchmen, Jews, Saxons, Silesians, and Bohemians recruited: “I consider people to be the greatest wealth.” By being granted “liberties, privileges, money and other necessities”, they were to further “the peaceful conquest of new villages”: Brandenburg turned into a state-decreed to-go area. This was not always met with approval from those already living there, whom, as opposed to the new settlers, received no further preferential treatment. In the beginning, the new settlers and adventurers arrived in a barren region and this was why many soon left again. They lived in wooden shacks, the undeveloped land resembled a primeval forest and there were no paths or bridges. On the other hand, the local population – although it was banned from doing so – also sought new land here and settled secretly. It was only if they were able to build a house overnight that it was not torn down again by the “royal forest wardens”.2 In addition to the chimney, pinewood spill or dried burbot – an especially oily fish – brought a bit of light into the dwellings. The sandy heath land was already developed, so that only the swampy Spree valleys and the shaggy state forests remained as settlement areas. The pioneering work in the Spree forests entailed extreme manual labour. Areas had to be cleared, log cabins were built as rough dwellings and areas of arable land needed to be developed and elevated in order to protect them against floods. It was only as late as the 19th century that a system of paths and bridges were put in place; until then, one balanced over lying tree trunks and transported livestock and belongings on Spreewald barges, which are now used for tourists. Since everything had to be brought there from elsewhere, the Spreewald settlers were largely self-sufficient. Visiting school was also not conceivable due to the long distances, but also because the children were required for their labour. Frederick Wilhelm I was therefore very concerned about “his uneducated children” and had numerous schools built, in which the children were to be brought up as Prussians. During the opening ceremony in Brand, the federal state’s Minister for Economics expressed his hope that Tropical Islands would make the holiday destination of Brandenburg internationally well known. If one cycles along the former military route, passing by empty residential buildings, to the other side of the formerly closed-off area, to Krausnitz, the lower Spreewald is not far away. During the time of travel restrictions, GDR citizens spent substitute holidays here. Legend has it that the devil created the run of the river here: “He ploughed with two oxen, screaming

old – new

loudly. It was hard, the oxen barely got any further. Then the devil took his hat and angrily flung it at the oxen. In fright they jumped this way and that – and for this reason the Spree River is so crooked and branched today.” 3 The Spree, which meanders like a delta in these parts, was used for fishing and as a transport route and in the Middle Ages, for windmills and hammer mills as well. It frequently occurred that the river, along with it its numerous arms, broke its banks twice a year, flooding large areas. Therefore, in the wake of the increased utilization of the inner Spreewald, a dense network of canals and fortified trenches were built, within the course of two centuries. If required, branch canals were used as water arteries to economically develop the land. Wetlands were eliminated and forests which were difficult to access had to be thinned in order to improve the hydrological conditions. Hence, the Spreewald today consists of merely 40% woods but 60% meadows and fields. In the 1930s, more than 100 weirs and dam plants were built, arranged in so-called dam belts. At the same time, the inhabitants of the Spreewald began excluding large areas from the original lowland by building flood protection dikes and flow-around weirs, and intensively using these areas for agriculture. These measures, comparable with the polders in the Netherlands, were continued in the GDR and lasted until the 1980s. South of the Spreewald, the lignite mines built since the 1930s led to an additional and significant intervention in the landscape and also affected the water routes. To develop the open cast mines, more than 500 villages or parts of villages were excavated, most of them populated by Sorbs. Now this hard graft can be experienced as leisuretime fun: The international building-show: SEE 4 fills flooded lignite pits to form an extensively arranged water landscape. The Spreewald and the waterways with an overall length of 1,600 km are also the proliferated result of hard work: In earlier times where wood was once rafted, now daytrippers are travelling, pushed forward by gondoliers in the numerous Spreewald boats or in canoes. The biosphere reserve Spreewald is artificially maintained by the re-cultivation of meadows, marshland and stretches of running water. More than 100 new measures are planned until 2013, costing close to 7 million euros. While in earlier times nature had to be harnessed, it is now to be converted in a further step to its alleged original state. Once the biggest problem were the unpredictable floods, today it is the lack of water. From the 1960s into the 1980s, huge amounts of groundwater were pumped off and conducted away via the Spree River to drain the lignite mines in Lusatia. The pits of the disused surface mines are presently being transformed into tourist landscapes and filled with water diverted from the Spree River. The new Lusatia lake region has a lasting effect on the region’s water resources. The dam belts are able

to maintain the water levels, so that tourists hardly notice the lack of water. But especially during dry periods the flow rates, which once cleaned the inshore waters in a natural way, have declined considerably. Today, thirteen dam attendants see to it that the water levels at the weirs are maintained. Even the former wealth of fish – 100 years ago the burbot, as a typical running water species, was cheaper than bread – must be upheld by additional fish stock. The town of Schlepzig 5 is the tourist centre of the lower Spreewald. The name derives from the Wendish ‘Sloupisti’ and means stilt, since the first dwellings were built on stilts. Two-language town signs and signposts indicate that Sorbian (Wendish) was once spoken here. In the wake of the settlement of the east during the high Middle Ages, the Sorbian/Wendish settlements were firmly integrated into the German Empire. Colonised eastern Brandenburg – the Hohenzollerns had German-speaking population groups deliberately settled here between 1680 and 1780 – was to serve as a buffer to the Slavic regions, while the Wendish population fled from the “Prussians” to the infertile sand and marsh plains of the Spree and Dahme rivers. Here, Brandenburg was an interior foreign country that at least in the 16th century still acted extraterritorially. The German rulers decreed language bans and restrictions in regard to moving to the cities; they produced a ghettoisation in the form of ‘Wendish streets’ and did not allow Sorbs to join the guilds. Martin Luther even spoke derogatively of “the worst of all nations”. Along with the industrialisation starting in 1871, the Sorbian language receded and was judged as a sign of backwardness and poverty.6 German Tropics

“… and may the tropical sun never set in Brand.” Brandenburg’s Minister President Platzeck at the official opening of Tropical Islands The “palms on heather sand” planted by landscape planners in Tropical Islands and the “Spreewald jungle” are as artificial as the economic miracle zone of Dubai with its palm-shaped, built-up offshore islands. The tropics, in sometimes bitterly cold Brandenburg, waste just as much energy as the ski runs7 in the Arabian Desert. While the muggy and hot summer in Dubai can hardly be endured without artificial paradises, the winter in eastern Germany is almost unbearable without protective covering. Someone seeking authenticity is out of place here: “In Lusatia, the landscape is not being protected and maintained but newly made”,8 – this is how the extensive plain full of lakes connected by canals in the former lignite region south of the Spreewald has been described. Shortly before Christmas, the investor Colin Au, who has meanwhile stepped down from management,


old – new

and Brandenburg’s Minister President Platzeck opened Tropical Islands. They expressed their wish that the tropical sun may never set in Brand. Emperor Wilhelm II already wanted to obtain a “place in the sun” for the German Empire in the form of colonies. Colin Au himself wrote a very astonishing revue for the prelude of Tropical Islands: His ‘Call of the South Sea’ is a trip through the island world between Samoa and Fiji, spanning the period between the settlement of the islands and colonial times. This dance show dealing with colonisation in the Spreewald, which is not far from the old colonial metropolis of Berlin, is not without irony, for the German Empire not only colonised the Spreewald but in later times also parts of the South Seas. Western Samoa, to which Au dedicated each third dance of the “largest Polynesia show in Europe”, was a colony of the German Empire from 1899–1919. The group of islands in the South Pacific were the scene of a power struggle between the colonial powers of the North. Between 1839 and 1861, American, British and German consulates were opened in the Kingdom of Samoa. The Germans imported Chinese and Melanesian labourers for the coconut plantations that they had cultivated since 1865. In 1878/79, the United States, Germany and Great Britain concluded trade agreements with the Kingdom, and in 1884 German marines occupied the Western Samoan seaport of Apia. In 1888, rebels supplied with weapons by the Americans resisted the German troops. Only a hurricane that destroyed the British, German and American warships prevented a war between the colonial powers. The Berlin Act on Samoa brought an end to the many years of power struggle and created an independent kingdom under the joint administration of the three powers. In 1899, the agreement was made to abolish the monarchy and to divide the island group between Germany and America. Great Britain disclaimed all rights in the Samoa agreement, but was compensated with other Pacific islands such as Tonga and parts of the Solomon Islands. Western Samoa (particularly the islands of Savai’i and Upolu) are now counted as part of the German protectorate “German Samoa”. In 1919, the German Empire lost all its colonies and thus withdrew from the South Pacific. Today, more than 5,000 foreigners still live in Samoa, roughly corresponding with the proportion during its colonial past (when there were around 24,000 Samoans, approx. 300 Germans and 300 other foreigners). The “Best of the Tropics”, as it was called in Tropical Islands’ press release, thus integrated a very extraordinary historical reference, at least at the beginning. And this was done in a country that is hardly aware anymore of its colonial activities. Of course, all this doesn’t fit on a postcard reading


“Greetings from Strandenburg” (Strand = beach) from the merchandising shop at Tropical Islands.

old – new

Turning Into an Island T h e Att r a ct o r s o f a Globalised Tourism

Jochen Becker works as an author, lecturer and curator in Berlin.

He was co-founder of BüroBert. Becker is co-editor of “Copyshop – Kunstpraxis & politische Öffentlichkeit” (Edition ID-Archiv, 1993), “geld. beat.synthetik – Abwerten (bio)technologischer Annahmen” (Edition ID-Archiv, 1996) “Baustop. randstadt,- #1” (ed. NGBK Berlin, 1999). Editor of “BIGNES? – Grösse zählt, Image/Politik, Städtisches Handeln” (b_books, 2001, cooperation with the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen). Together with Stephan Lanz “Metropolen” (2001) as well as the metroZones book series “Space//Troubles” (2003), “Hier Entsteht” (2004), “Self Service City: Istanbul” (2005), “City of COOP: Buenos Aires/ Rio de Janeiro” (2004), “Kabul/Teheran 1979ff” (2006), “Architektur auf Zeit” (2006), “Verhandlungssache Mexiko Stadt” (2008) and “Funk the City” (2008). 2009 foundation of the book series “metroZones/media” with the planned publications “Made in Nollywood”, “Staging Kabul”, “EuroMaps” and “Roaming Around”. 2011/2012 project series “Global Prayers – Erlösung und Befreiung in der Stadt” on new religious movements in metropolises. Exhibitions, conference and publication, among others, at NGBK and House of World Cultures Berlin.

1 Halbe, Germany’s largest military cemetery, lies two train stops before


3 4


6 7


Brand and was regularly the scene of neo-Nazi marches. Brandenburg, as well as other regions in eastern Germany, is called a no-go area for people of colour. Statistics show that violent racism is widespread. The Brandenburger “nightly quick shots” are reminiscent of the gecekondus of Istanbul, illegal settlements of huts “built overnight” in the 1950s. See also: Esen, Orhan & Lanz, Stephan (eds.): Self Service City: Istanbul metroZones 4. Berlin, 2005. “Lausitzring EuroSpeedway” – motorsports in Lusatia ca. 60 km (also bankrupt as it is stated quite frankly on the homepage of Schlepzig). In Waldow on the other side of the motorway, one can alternatively master the “SpreeWaldRing” in go-karts. In the Sorbian/Wends Law of the Federal State of Brandenburg from 1994 one can read: “The Sorbian language, especially Lower Sorbian, is to be appreciated and supported. The use of the Sorbian language is free.” As a further tourist attraction in Lusatia, one can enjoy indoor skiing all year long in “Snowtropolis” near Senftenberg. “Skating, diving, jet-skiing or driving with the ATV over mine dumps: The Lower Lusatian area south of the Spreewald is a gigantic recreational park. On the former opencast mining grounds Europe’s largest artificial chain of lakes is being created.” Spiegel Online, 07/19/2006. In the GDR, “Fiji” was the abusive word for Vietnamese contract workers who supported the industry in the 1970s. The racist term is still being used.

by Elke Krasny This essay is based on three considerations that build upon each other. First: Historically, monuments are based on isolation. Second: Under the economised conditions of global cities, monuments become landmarks that with works by star architects rely on singularity, iconicity and isolation. Third: The targeted connection of these two strategies results in the “museum island”. I present these three configurations – monument, landmark and museum island – as a spatial figure and a figure of thought. Thus, their urban-planning and representative dimensions act as the expression of the relationship between the history of ideas, culture and tourism and this becomes important for the analysis of their public impact. In three sections, Isolating Monuments, Singularising Landmarks and Attracting Museum Islands, I shall examine these projected connecting lines between monuments, landmarks and museum islands. Isolating Monuments

Monuments stand for themselves. They must stand for themselves in order to unfold their spatial and symbolic effect. It is the spatial-political obligation of monuments to bear witness. They must have an effect in the here and now, but they come from another time – that is the time when they were erected. This temporal context has been stored in such a way that the distance in time remains readable and their effect becomes increasingly charged with this meaning over time. Monuments work with their commemorative values, to use a term coined by the Austrian art historian and proponent of the Viennese School of Art History, Alois Riegl.

which they were built, but they also embody a message for the future and for future publics. This multi-temporality of monuments influences their positioning. They occupy positions of commemoration. In order to maintain these positions, it is necessary to employ aesthetic strategies that prevent them from being dismantled. For this reason, monuments have to be at a safe distance from their viewers. To protrude out of their time, they must tower spatially, determine their context and at the same time detach themselves from it to avoid merging with it or submerging into it. In regard to urban planning, monuments must isolate themselves. The effective survival of monuments is based on their isolation from their surroundings. Monuments are outstanding. If one takes the semantic and physical dimension of “outstanding” literally, one sees that this aspect emphasises their isolation from the environment. A closer look at the word: “isolating” conveys the word island, “isola”. At the end of the 18th century, the French verb “isoler” became the German verb “isolieren”. The Italian “isolare” and the French “isoler” basically mean “to turn into an island”. The Italian “isolare” is a distinct expression of this. The noun island, “isola”, becomes a verb, an activity, “isolare”, “turning into an island”. And this defines precisely the urban-planning and aesthetic strategy on which the conception and erection of monuments depends: they were turned into islands. Having been turned into islands, monuments place then rely on the strategic effect of distance. Singularising Landmarks

The people beholding the monument must accomplish this commemorative task for them. The space required by the beholders, in which the monuments unfold their effect in spatial proximity through physical stateliness and in temporal distance through the charging with symbolic meaning, demands an empty zone around them. People – the public, who fulfil the monument’s mission to be perceived – are spatially projected into this zone, which must be kept clear. In terms of urban development, the public is included in the empty zone surrounding the monuments.

1/2 View into “Europe’s largest tropical holiday world” located in a former airship hangar (Source:

Monuments must articulate for those they stand for. This mission, embodied by their monumental presence, consists in having a symbolic and political effect on the present coming from the time in

If we follow the introduced strategies of creating the monumental and isolating it as spatial-political approaches to produce urban attractors in the recent and most recent past, we see that former monuments are now landmarks. Cultural landmark architecture relies on the Bilbao effect of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum. This building was completed in 1997 in a problematic urban zone of the Spanish city of Bilbao that had great difficulties with the post-industrial transformation process and needed to invent itself as a tourist destination. The same even applies to newly completed museum buildings. These are obliged to conform to the same pattern of upgrading to the spectacular and the iconic. Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI in Rome is an example of this. The repositioning of Rome as a metropolis for mass tourism pursued by the centre-


old – new

left government in the 1990s, united the features of globalisation and city competition. In this task of cultural repositioning as a contemporary metropolis it looked to landmark architecture. This landmark architecture has the effect of isolated iconic signs and relies on being readable not only by tourists but also by the local population. This shows how the transformation from the monumental to the landmark retains the spatial-political strategy of isolating, of turning into an island. In aesthetic terms, however, they are not signs of the specific local history and site-specific production of memory, as is the case with historical monuments, but instead they stand for globalised sign cultures that, isolated as icons from any contextual specificity, produce their own context and project it onto their respective locations. These star-architecture islands that outshine the rest of the cities in order to refer back to themselves in an identity-seeking way are there to engender the identity that, as a mark of the location, they can vouch for their city’s uniqueness in the global competition of cities. They do not react to their context but instead they negate it in order to create their own context. They themselves produce the media and actual spatial public sphere that they need for their effectiveness. As we have seen, that which isolates connects to iconicity: the monumental connects to the global. The new landmark monuments have an insular effect. They must be grasped as monuments of a globalised present that, in a trans-urban manner, affect and effect cities without possessing the monuments’ specific commemorative-political dimension of the local regard for the aesthetic dimension of what was built. The, still necessary, local specificity of landmark architecture, which makes up the necessary logic of distinction in the international competition of cities, shifts to the cultural production that takes place inside these new museums. On the one hand, what circulates are globalised exhibition productions that can be compared within the competition between cities; on the other, the relationship to the local now becomes a resource for exhibition ideas and programmes, something that emphasises the difference between cities as tourist destinations. Global cities – the concept of the global city was introduced into the debate by the urban sociologist Saskia Sassen in the 1990s – are no longer just global economic centres (meaning cities of financial markets and differentiated transnational business services) but they are also cities that are able to persist in the international competition of cities as global cultural centres attractive to mass tourism. Landmark museum architecture is crucial to this end. Attracting Museum Islands

When we now look at these two strategies together – turning into an island and the housing of museums – we arrive at their connection: the museum island.


The Museum Island in Berlin, which began as early as 1830 with the construction of the Altes Museum but was only called Museum Island around 1870, is now one of Berlin’s tourist attractions under protection as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site since 1999. Actually existing islands rely on museums to reinvent themselves and develop a survival strategy aimed at tourism. Many smaller islands belonging to Japan are struggling with the phenomenon of superannuation and dwindling populations, because they no longer have any perspectives for economic survival. While Bilbao had struggled with the problems of post-industrialisation, seeking to solve them by means of star-architecture, at around the same time the Japanese island of Naoshima, which traditionally lived from fishing, invested in the strategy of reinventing itself as a museum island. “Benesse Art Site Naoshima is the collective name for art activities conducted by Benesse Holdings, Inc. and Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation on the islands of Naoshima, Teshima, and Inujima in the Seto Inland Sea to build a relationship of mutual growth between art and the region that provides it with a setting, in order to make a positive contribution to the local community.” 1 Already in the 1980s, the Benesse Corporation invited the Japanese star-architect Tadao Ando to produce a development plan for the island under the site-specific theme of nature and art. In a later phase, hotel rooms were integrated into the museum: the museum hotel. A city rich in tradition such as Vienna reinvented itself at its central tourist quarter by connecting the city’s longest uninterrupted Baroque facade (Fischer von Erlach’s imperial court stables completed in 1723) with the contemporary architecture of the museum buildings implemented in the area by Ortner & Ortner (1990–2001). The museum island established in this manner isolates itself towards the outside and towards the inside functions as a closed spatial panorama and combines cultural uses with the creation of a leisure-time space perceived as public. Tourist use and local use start to coincide. Local users use the site as a tourist location and tourists use it like an everyday space. We can draw the conclusion that the logic of such a space is already globally practiced and belongs to the standard cultural repertory of a class that has leisure time and money at its disposal. The transition zone in front of the museum quarter is the kind of urban intermediate land between road axis and the imperial Vienna of the imperial museums (the Museums of Art History and Natural History as well as the Hofburg) that, similar to the Heldenplatz, is a place for youth cultural and informal uses such as sitting, talking, lounging or skateboarding. The museum quarter as a museum island created itself as a context that has an effect on the city and beyond.

old – new

The museum island that is regarded as the world’s most spectacular and that is still under construction is the 27-square-kilometre island of Saadiyat. “Until 2018, the Tourism Development & Investment Company will build – in a relatively scattered construction style – around 29 hotels with more than 7,000 rooms, including a 7 star hotel, 8,000 villas and 38,000 flats, as well as numerous tourist, leisure-time and supply facilities on Saadiyat.” 2 This island is at the service of tourism, with the museum and the hotel emerging as its central spaces.

“The cultural reservoir of the world turns into the system of franchising. Uniqueness is increased by a system of proliferation of what already exists in the world. What international brands have long realised – that their recognition effect turns people into communicating and consuming cosmopolitans – increasingly permeates the museum landscape. […] The genius globi marks itself in these chains of museums, or at the beginning of a chain of museums, as is the case with the Louvre.” 4 Isolate. Singularise. Attract.


Familiar names such as Louvre and Guggenheim turn sites into venues identified by museum brands. Distinction lies in comparability. The new must build upon tradition and immerse it in the light of new star-architecture. That is the logic of attraction. These modern places, such as the museum island undergoing construction, competently secure for themselves the idea of time by having a long past at one’s command and storing it in the museum. “The museums being built on the museum island of Saadiyat, planned to be completed by 2018, use the figure of time. The time that has been invested in the museum in many other places can be freely set in order take place as an insular event of the touristic culture industry. The time of having become, which lends the museum its credibility, can adhere to the newly emerging museums as a guarantee of global compatibility with the system of the museum. […] The Maritime Museum is being designed by Tadao Ando, the Theatre Centre by Zaha Hadid and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum by Sir Norman Foster.” 3 The names of the architects, while positioning the new museum buildings as global brands of iconicity, vouch for their touristic attractiveness. It is the names of the architects that guarantee global-singularity. The names of these star-architects contribute to the production of a series – just like the museums they build. Seriality creates the singularism/globalism of the contemporary architectural production of icons. There will be a second Louvre on Saadiyat, planned by Jean Nouvel, and a new edition of the Guggenheim, again with Frank Gehry.

As regards urban planning monuments used to isolate themselves in their time in order to have a public effect and outlast their age. At the same time they were the representative sites of storage for what was considered worthy of remembrance. Monuments created the spatial context for their innate semantic and symbolic values. Monuments refer to the absent history that they commemorate. Landmarks free themselves from the obligation of referring to their context, they radicalise the refusal of a specific context, of a response to the given conditions, and understand themselves as the time storage of themselves. They do not refer to an absent outside, to the representation of hegemonic historical traditions, but to themselves. Landmarks operate as self-referential signs, as iconic isolators that produce their own context. They stand for themselves and keep at a safe distance from the real surroundings. They are comparable to other icons at other places. They set themselves in relation to other star-architecture islands that together function as a system of attractors of globalised tourism. Landmarks singularise in order to make themselves specifically incomparable as regards their location yet comparable in a globalised way. Museum islands combine these two logics: that of the monumentally isolating, representative storage of time as a cultural memory machine with the singularising star-architecture of the iconic. This combination leads to the museum island that makes what is isolated walkable, habitable, consumable, experienceable. The museum island isolates, singularises and attracts. “In that the island rises to the idyllic counter-image of the problems of the mainland, it reveals itself as a manageable space. The dimensions of insularity are at once easy to grasp and impressive. Islands emphasise their condensed diversity in close quarters, which confirms itself as a resource of experience in its exhaustibility. Insularity is manageable. That catches the touristic spirit in times of scarce resources, prosperity regarding time and the sword of Damocles of the crisis. Escapism is insular. In an age in which the scarcity of resources determines the prospects of the future, artificial islands celebrate their own possibility as an unambiguous potential of potentialisation: every centimetre of beach that is gained in Dubai counts equally for the tourist and the developer. The singularism-globalism of the present finds its built


old – new

expression in self-assertive insularity. In hypermodernism, images have long learnt how to move, but they can confidently leave that behind and inflate themselves to three-dimensionality as a permanent still – as a frozen, built snapshot. In insularity, hypermodernism celebrates the continuation of the spectacle with means that constantly exceed themselves, remaining bound, by circumventing postmodernism, to certain configurations of modernism. Belief in progress and the rationality of mass production go hand in hand with economic liberalism. Western pillars of modernism’s catalogue of values such as autonomy, emancipation, individualism and secularisation have entered into new, hybrid alliances between postcolonial critique and the polycentric constitution of the world, alliances in which the economy casts the long shadows of its freedom onto the apparently attested right to globalised entertainment culture. The islands reveal timeframes of the accelerated withdrawal from the world fissured by discord and dichotomy between globalisation winners and globalisation losers, between subsistence minimum and subsistence maximum.” 5 Having been turned into islands, and on an island dedicated to them, like Saadiyat, the landmarks can determine all of their contexts and stage and display themselves as icons of globalisation (with all their positive and negative connotations). “Like the International Style, the global styles of Rogers, Foster, Piano and others often feature heroic engineering, and once again technology is seen as a virtue, a power, in its own right, as though it were a fetish to ward away the unsavory aspects of the very modernity of which it is part. (This new Prometheanism was bucked up, not knocked out, by the attacks of September 11).” 6 The repercussions of September 11 in connection with singularity and iconicity can be classified in terms of the history of spaces and ideas between the spectacular celebration of technology and paranoid security dreams (traumas). “After the attacks of September 11, the security trauma has haunted the production of architecture. Intensified to a phantasm, it becomes the hubris of what is doable with security. On the island, one can again feel assured of the world, for the world there has always already been another one. On the island city-state of Utopia, which Thomas Morus envisioned in 1516, a kind of communism prevailed. Today’s islands leave the U-Topian behind and wind up in hyperreality. That can always be booked.” 7 Elke Krasny is Senior Lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, curator and project artist; 2011 Visiting Curator, Hong Kong Community Museum Project; 2011 Visiting Artist SFU Audain Gallery Vancouver; 2012 Visiting Scholar Canadian Center for Architecture; publications (selection): “Architektur beginnt im Kopf. The Making of Architecture”, (ed. Architekturzentrum Wien), Basel, Birkhäuser Verlag 2008; “Stadt und Frauen. Eine andere Topographie von Wien”, Vienna, Metro Verlag 2008; “Urbanografien. Stadtforschung in Kunst, Architektur und Theorie” (ed. with Irene Nierhaus), Berlin, Reimer Verlag 2008; “Aufbruch in die Nähe. Wien Lerchenfelderstrasse” (ed. with Angela Heide), Vienna, turia+kant 2010; “Hands-on Urbanism 1850–2012. The Right to Green” (ed. Architekturzentrum Wien), Hong Kong, MCCM Creations 2012.


Foster, Hal: The Art-Architecture Complex. London/New York, Verso 2011. Sassen, Saskia: The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton, University Press 2001. Wilkens, Anne E.; Ramponi, Patrick & Wendt, Helge (eds.): Inseln und Archipele. Kulturelle Figuren des Insularen zwischen Isolation und Entgrenzung. Bielefeld, Transcript Verlag 2011. 1 2 3 Krasny, Elke: Das Insuläre. Von den Strategien hypermoderner

4 5 6 7

Raumproduktion, in: Anne E. Wilkens, Patrick Ramponi & Helge Wendt (eds.): Inseln und Archipele. Kulturelle Figuren des Insularen zwischen Isolation und Entgrenzung. Bielefeld, Transcript Verlag 2011, p. 194f. Loc. cit., p. 192f. Krasny, Elke: loc. cit., p. 188. Foster, Hal: The Art-Architecture Complex. London/New York, Verso 2011, p. IX. Krasny, Elke: loc. cit., p. 207.

1 Visualisation of the future museum island of Abu Dhabi (photo: DPA)


near – far

O n L i tt l e S w i s s V i l l a g e s a n d “N o b l e S ava g e s ” C u lt u r a l I d e n t i ty i n t h e I n t e r p l ay Bet w een Insider a nd Ou tsider Views Wa lt er L eimgru ber in con v er s at ion w i t h Pe t er Spil l m a n n Superficially seen, cultural identity, in the context of tourism, initially evolves in what seems to be an easily comprehensible field of tension between inside and outside: the classical critique of tourism in the 1960s maintained that Western tourists are cultural imperialists and with their moral values, behaviour, style of clothing or liberal treatment of sexuality etc. disturb or, in the long run, even destroy local cultural milieus. When looking back at the pioneering days of tourism in Switzerland, one can also discern similar culture- and especially class-based conflicts between upper-class guests from London and Paris and the population of the Alpine valleys, for example. Walter Leimgruber It is not the case that these are separate worlds, because inside and outside have always stood in close contact. The notion that tourism enters into something that until then existed only as an inside, is usually incorrect. When taking a look at Switzerland, there had been contact all the way to the remotest mountain villages. What comes in the guise of local culture is the result of a long process of development that was not always exclusively local, but is shaped by the various forces that have had an effect on the valley. There have always been external forces: trade, changes in religion, anyone travelling through the valley and finally tourism. One must always look at how these evolved together. Peter Spillmann Tourism providers predominantly work with images. They tell stories and seek to address the specific imaginations and desires of their potential customers. The fact that this also produces culture, that certain notions of “foreign” places are confirmed or challenged, that clichés and biases are disseminated or refreshed, thus pursuing a modern production of national images in a global frame, appears less important. Walter Leimgruber Of course, the pull or the force from the outside becomes much stronger when tourism becomes a region’s most important economic factor. But even then, one must take a close look at what the locals do with it. They are always a part of the whole and at the same time shape the process in various ways. Using the example of Swiss tourism, one can discern an interplay between insider and outsider Peter Spillmann

views ever since the 18th century. But it is often not easy to establish to whom one attributes which view, who effects what and who has adapted what. The boundaries are not distinct. Not to put too fine a point on it, one could say that the entire modern self-image of Switzerland, that which is called traditional Swiss culture, also emerged through dealing with tourism. All elements highlighted today are closely linked to the rise of 18th-century aristocratic and bourgeois tourism. The Unspunnenfest was not a festival for the locals but for the urban bourgeoisie and foreign guests. Many elements that had actually already disappeared were taken up again – the alphorn, for example. This means that interplay has existed ever since then, and this is what “true” Swiss folk culture essentially draws upon. Peter Spillmann We repeatedly encountered this relation of mutual exchange in our research when we dealt with the external perception of Switzerland. We then formulated the provocative thesis that Switzerland was basically invented as a nation in tourism. Walter Leimgruber What is exciting about the development of nations, particularly in the 19th century, is that there is always interplay. Where is a nation headed? In the 19th century, the search for self-understanding and for identity was a long and complicated process in Switzerland; it was not primarily shaped by touristic considerations, but permanent exchange did take place. It was the 19th century, in particular, that intensified this exchange. Using Lötschental as an example, the Swiss valley that has been best examined from an ethnological point of view, the complex interplay becomes nicely discernible. The first ethnologists came to the valley at the beginning of the 20th century and explored the Fasnacht (carnival) that was then far more diverse than it is today. At the time, there were different types of costumes and also a Fasnacht theatre, but the researchers were particularly fascinated by the wild and eerie, carved face-masks, the Tschäggätä. They were looking for myths that were as old as possible, preferably from heathen


near – far

times, and had been passed on as genuinely as possible. The locals soon noticed that there was a special interest. Museums acquired their masks at a good price and that is why they were increasingly produced; they were artificially aged, because old masks were in demand. And already in the first half of the 20th century, artists who had moved to the region had a growing influence on the design of these masks; they became more creative and even wilder. At the Landesausstellung (country fair) in 1939, these masks were then exhibited as the epitome of Swiss Alpine culture and thus became valuable cultural assets in museums. One can observe this in many regions. The cultural head of Appenzell Innerhoden, who is a folklorist, states that it is not possible to understand the local culture without understanding the interaction with tourism. It is the complex mixture of interactions between inside and outside that then offer the image of a culture that is ultimately grasped and sold as genuine and authentic. Peter Spillmann So you regard tourism more as an accelerator of cultural exchange? But hasn’t the touristic gaze long become the measure of all cultural things? Will something that does not correspond with the touristic gaze even be perceived as culture in the future? Walter Leimgruber You can say that the form of culture that tourism would prefer comes to bear foremost in regions where there is no other possibility of earning money. Basel or Zurich do not have this problem to the same extent. Basel also has the Fasnacht, but it was never used as much for touristic purposes, because industry also existed. That is why the interplay between tourism and culture was not as intensive in this region. In poorer regions, one tends to forget that there was a great outflow of people. In these places, the opportunity was naturally seized to fascinate people with what was there – like displays of masks, yodelling and dances in traditional costume – in order to earn money. Preferences emerged that were emphasised and expanded, while less popular things receded to the background. That was a welcome opportunity to earn money and keep people there. I do not find the disdain for certain performances one occasionally observes justified, because some regions could only survive in this way. The Alpine valleys would otherwise have become even more deserted and there would hardly be an infrastructure for skiing and so forth today. Peter Spillmann Nowadays, the question of cultural exchange has again gained importance for


tourism especially in regard to new markets: Asia, for example. For several years now, Swiss tourism has been marketing the travel destinations with the claim to “get natural”. Glossy pictures of intact Alpine landscapes or medieval cities against a dark red background convey the image of a traditionally rural and historical Switzerland. The logo in the form of an edelweiss blossom, often combined with several Qs from quality certificates, is additionally used to emphasise the notion of a high-quality, pure Switzerland. Walter Leimgruber One can look at the historical parallel here, too. When aristocrats travelled to the Alpine valleys in the 18th century to visit the “noble savages unspoilt by urban civilisation”, this was not that far away from what we see today. If you picture the development in India or China, in an average Chinese boom city with 8 or 9 million inhabitants, where modernisation is taking place at an incredible speed, for example, then the same thing is happening that happened in European cities in the past: they are seeking spaces of longing and projection, because at home these spaces are disappearing at an incredible speed. A strong interest is aroused when images of pristine landscapes without high-rises, chaotic traffic and polluted air, but with clean waters are offered. We are all aware that this is a one-sided image of a country, which in many respects is not correct. Peter Spillmann And therefore the expectations and imaginations of the new guests will certainly soon have a visible impact on the design of urban spaces and landscapes, just like in earlier times when the expectations of British tourists were fulfilled and their wishes taken up in the landscape or architecture. In Switzerland, there is currently a trend towards essentialisation, towards the clear form and pure material, which is immediately associated with luxury, with something that is rare. You can see it in the architecture now entering the Alpine region, for example. This development is probably already a reaction to the new expectations and somehow makes more sense in a global perspective than in a national one: Switzerland as a sort of pure, essential place, exclusively for the few who can afford it … Walter Leimgruber I think what expresses itself here is that the availability of nature has become a kind of luxury product. Nature is becoming increasingly improbable. On a global level we have witnessed a development in which many spaces that were still characterised by nature two or three decades ago are today being intensively utilised. It is something that can be felt very strongly almost everywhere in the Asian region. It is connected with the awareness that

near – far

nature is something valuable, no longer to be taken for granted, something that has to be cared for with great effort or else it will disappear. On the other hand, technological means succeed in making the most extreme situations in nature experienceable, without getting cold feet, without getting wet, freezing or dying of thirst. The interplay between nature and luxury is very exciting. You can sell something for a lot of money that the poor mountain dweller deems natural in his daily life. That shows how far away we are from the existence of the poor mountain dweller. People are willing to spend a lot of money to enjoy a part of a landscape that in earlier days was taken for granted and anybody could take in. You can say: “The less people carry on activities in a natural setting, the greater becomes the longing for this setting.” th Peter Spillmann During the first half of the 20 century, technological achievements, ships, rack railways built into breathtakingly steep mountains, daring viaducts and broad, modern roads dominated the posters of tourist offices. Looking back on the 1920s and 30s, we see that technology was at the centre of the image worlds of Switzerland. In Hans Erni’s Landi picture, for example, the rural and urban folk customs are combined with technological achievements and monuments. Little can be seen of this anymore in the present-day image worlds of Switzerland. What we see instead are the old stereotypes from the box of folklore again: Alp granddads, cows, cheese and edelweiss, at most pepped up or broken by a tang of fashion or irony. What could this imply for the quasi-official, cultural selfunderstanding of Switzerland? Walter Leimgruber The question is whether this only corresponds with a touristic gaze. There is a basic anti-urban sentiment in Switzerland that did not emerge merely on account of tourism. Pictures of Swiss landscapes never show the chemical industry in Basel or the agglomeration landscape of Zurich, where most people in the country actually live, but instead show Alpine landscapes. National identity was forged via images that are very similar to touristic images and were charged with political values such as originality, direct democracy, community, federalism, freedom and so forth. These images are now relatively old and interact with the ideals of the Enlightenment: ideal images were projected onto certain regions and these were especially useful in Switzerland. In Switzerland, the construction of a national identity took a different form than in other European countries. There was not one history, one language, one culture.

From the very onset, there were several languages, and the various regions waged war against each other for centuries – it was relatively complicated to construct a uniform nation. The landscape served as a substitute. What arose was the myth of the Alps that engendered a very specific breed of man, the taciturn, sincere mountain dweller standing for an honest, upright attitude and politics. Even today, it’s easier for politicians who embody this ideal than that of the urban, intellectual type, who is not as appealing. With this in mind, one can ask again: Was this attitude used to shape the image of tourism or did tourism shape this image? For various reasons, the image of nature and the landscape has come to the fore and evolved to a pivotal element of national identity. That’s why it’s so easy today for Swiss tourism to use these images. A further interesting point is why technology is not as fascinating as it used to be. When we look at its beginnings in the second half of the 19th century, when the modern Swiss nation-state originated, we see that just about the same thing happened that is now taking place in China and India. Society was subjected to a radical change. There was rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. Switzerland was one of the early-industrialised countries in Europe, it was export-oriented, not yet in a fully global manner, but it was on the market almost all over the world. Switzerland experienced strong migration, not only the outflow of people who no longer saw a future in Switzerland, but also migration from the mountains to the valleys. A societal and social transformation took place, which was really rapid, dynamic and also partially brutal. This is what changed the landscape. Over time, we find less positively connoted images of modern development. It increasingly scared people; familiar things were lost. As an alternative, pictures of the “little Swiss village” emerged as an ideal homeland. This can be well demonstrated by the Landesausstellungen (national fairs) and world fairs, where the little village was regularly presented as a motif and an actually built exhibition idyll. A cultural foothold was needed to survive the rapid change and it was created in the form of the mountain idyll. The motif of the little village always appeared together with the motif of the mountain. The little village at the Landesausstellung 1896 in Geneva, for example, was furnished with an artificial cliff and a waterfall made with the most modern means and enlivened with real cows in the


near – far

foreground to give an impression of a mountain idyll that was as authentic as possible. The rapid and expansive change that turned an agricultural society into an industrialised society came to an end around the time of the First World War. The really large caesuras had already taken place, the new structures were visible and the transport network was in place. One had grown accustomed to these modern elements in the landscape. What then followed was, in my opinion, a phase in which the enthusiasm for roads and technology could be acted out, for one had the feeling of having found a symbiosis between originality and progress. A time of optimism ensued; people were convinced that technology plus nature equalled the perfect life. This phase ended in the 1970s. The first limits of growth were perceived, the first ecological problems arose, people realised that the super solutions had considerable side effects. This scepticism has intensified in the past two or three decades because globalisation – similar to the end of the 19th century – marks a new step in this development.


The end of the industrialised society has now been reached. For the first time in about a hundred years we have fundamental doubts about progress being beneficial. Of course, this has not only to do with globalisation, but also with the fact that progress is dominated by certain powers. One can say that it is the market: neoliberalism has dissolved much of what had been taken for granted in the 20th century. Switzerland perfected a system of negotiation in which everyone sits down together, talks and seeks a compromise, with everyone taking a step so that, in the end, a solution is found that everyone can agree upon. Now it turns out that the world doesn’t function in this way at all, that there are totally different powers at play. Consensus is of no interest whatsoever, everybody wants the maximum for themselves to gain as much


as possible; and the one who is not able to exert counter-pressure loses. That is a mode of thought that deeply unsettles Switzerland. I believe that this development has led to the quest for idyllic places becoming more important again. It is actually a kind of wellness that is to free one from the stress that goes along with the new societal changes. When we see a part of nature where societal pressure does not show itself, we feel good. Peter Spillmann Will something still exist in the future that can be perceived as culture outside of the touristic perception? I ask this question in regard to concepts of a politics of cultural heritage that almost inevitably entails a sort of standardisation of what should or may count as culture in the first place, while declassing the rest as not worthy of support. What is still at issue here, as well, is the relation of interaction and exchange, yet it is a new force taking effect. Walter Leimgruber It is certainly a very powerful force. The possession of a UNESCO label attracts throngs of tourists and that usually leads to a lot of money. Yet I am optimistic all the same, because there are still other things besides that. Let us once more make an historical comparison. What was regarded as culture in the 19th century was determined by a bourgeois gaze: theatre, literature, music etc. What then emerged due to technological developments, however, the medial cultural forms at the beginning of the 20th century, the gramophone, cinema, radio, was initially not perceived as culture, it was entertainment for the underclass at best. As an upper-class citizen, you didn’t go to the cinema, only workers and the uneducated sat in dark auditoriums on Sunday afternoons for 20 centimes. Today, no one would say that cinema isn’t culture. I think that change is time and again accompanied by cultural developments that we cannot control. New needs arise and from them new forms of how to live and shape your life – how culture in the widest sense originates. Globalisation is also inevitably accompanied by the emergence of new forms of culture that disseminate themselves in a totally different way than older ones, for example, in music, but also specifically migrant and transcultural cultural practices. They do not simply become a cultural heritage – at the moment they even seem to lie largely outside the frame of the UNESCO convention. And the celebration of what is recognised and generally accepted will always trigger the quest for what is new, innovative and provoking. One must take a look at such phenomena, analyse them, deal with them, but one shouldn’t always

near – far

believe that everything is falling to pieces and that only the one is being supported and not the other. Sooner or later, the dominance of the touristic gaze will prompt many people to start offering resistance, because they notice that this covers only one side of them and does not do justice to their whole life. In the past one hundred years Schwingen (Swiss wrestling) and yodelling did not become the culture of the urban lower and middle classes. Their preferences, like cinema, modern forms of dance and music, football etc., did not become the cultural heritage of Switzerland and yet they have established themselves as part of our everyday life. I am convinced that people have the power time and again to counter the strong constraints that indeed exist with something of their own. Walter Leimgruber *1959, head of the Seminar for Cultural

Studies and European Ethnology of the University of Basel. Studied history, geography and European ethnology. PhD in 1990, habilitation in 2001, research and teaching stays in Boston, Washington, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Marburg. Publications (selection): “Kulturanthropologie. Ein Arbeitsbuch” (to be published in 2013); “Ewigi Liäbi. Singen bleibt populär”, 2009; “Was Akten bewirken können. Integrations- und Ausschlussprozesse eines Verwaltungsvorgangs”, 2008; “Goldene Jahre. Zur Geschichte der Schweiz seit 1945”, 1999.

1 Schweizerische Landesausstellung Genf 1896: Souvenir du Village Suisse – Danses des enfants en costumes nationaux. (photo: Fred Boissonnas)


near – far


India in Switzerland: Engelberg as a Global-Local Contact Zone BY Sybille Frank Thin shoes skid over ice. Snowballs fly through the air. One can hear enraptured cries as soon as the Indian tourists discover the furrowed tracks on which one can slide several metres over the snow towards the valley. Saris flutter in the wind; mobile phones are raised to take pictures. Sending an SMS way back home from the 3,200-metre peak of Titlis in central Switzerland is an essential item on the tourist agenda. Afterwards, the Indian travellers gather for lunch in the summit station’s Indian group restaurant. The Indian guests enjoy a ca. three-hour stay on the mountaintop of Titlis during their package tour of Europe. That is more free time than they have in London or Paris, for example.1 For Indian travellers, however, Paris is not the epitome of love and romanticism that Titlis is; which is why Titlis is the highlight of every European tour.2 “The global Indian holidaymaker has arrived and is now a force to be reckoned with,” 3 is how the Indian market leader for European tours, SOTC, sums up the most recent power shifts in the field of international tourism. Until recently, tourist travel routes led almost exclusively from the Global West to destinations in the Global East and South – if members of “the West” didn’t visit each other. In the past years, however, trips to Western destinations have become increasingly affordable and an attractive status symbol for people from the previously so-called “rest of the world”.4 On the one hand, this is due to the expansion of travel offers and reductions in price, and on the other, the economic upswing in parts of the Global East and South. With the presence of these new groups of tourists, who are deemed ‘exotic’ here in Western villages and cities, new global-local contact zones have emerged, in which practiced role patterns between travellers and locals are broken and traditional cultural knowledge is challenged. This text examines the still young Indian tourism in Switzerland, with a special focus on the reciprocal imaginations of guests and hosts. The following explications are based on ethnographic observations on site and interviews with locals, travellers and service workers conducted in 2011. Firstly, I shall give an answer to the question: What leads Indian tourists to Switzerland? Bollywood and Switzerland

The reason for the great interest of Indians in Switzerland lies in the Indian Bollywood films. The

flourishing commercial Bollywood film industry now produces up to 1,000 films a year – far more than Hollywood. The films are mainly meant to entertain, to offer fun and excitement, but also to address people’s deep emotions and longings, and to help them cope with the conflicts between modernity and tradition that the Indian society is enormously preoccupied with. Since the 1980s, these conflicts predominantly based on a “new definition of marriage, love, family and partnership” 5 have been treated with success, as spectator figures of up to three thousand million per film prove. On account of the rigid moral values still prevailing in Indian society, directors are not allowed to show love scenes in the films. They therefore make do with romantic song-and-dance numbers.6 These are elaborately staged inserts reminiscent of music clips that interrupt the plot with a kind of dream sequence, of which there must be at least six per film.7 In these scenes, a desperate pair of lovers dances, preferably, in front of an idyllic mountain landscape where their dreams of intimacy and eroticism are fulfilled. The scenes are not bound to time and space, i.e., costumes and places change abruptly and often a storm comes up or its starts to rain, so that the clothes of the actors and actresses cling to their bodies in a seductive way.8 Up until the 1960s, the mountain meadows of the snow-covered Kashmir Mountains were a prominent place of longing in Indian mythology,9 and the prefered location for shooting these song-and-dance clips. After filming was no longer possible there, due to the conflict with Pakistan, and other northern Indian mountain regions appeared to be “exhausted”,10 Bollywood producers started searching for alternatives. They chose Switzerland because of the similarity of its landscape to Kashmir. Hence, since the 1960s, numerous song-and-dance scenes have been shot in the Bernese Oberland and the Central Swiss Alps for films that still rank among the biggest Bollywood blockbusters. In the 1990s “real” film sequences were also gradually set in the Swiss mountain world, for example, around one third of the storyline of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Lovers Will Walk Off with the Bride) with Shah Rukh Khan, produced in 1995. “Idyllic pictures of singing Bollywood stars in front of peacefully ruminating Alpine cows and snowcovered mountaintops” 11 made Switzerland a para­dise almost overnight; a guarantor of sun, peacefulness, order, being in touch with nature and

near – far

happiness. Even if Indian film crews have meanwhile found other shooting locations in Eastern Europe, New Zealand or the United Arab Emirates, the popularity of Switzerland as a “Disneyland of love” is undiminished.12 Many Indians therefore dream of travelling to Switzerland at least once in their lifetime – and an increasing number of people can afford the long trip to Europe. In Europe the Indian market counts as one of the most promising tourist markets of the future. The more than one thousand million Indians make up around 17 per cent of the world population, but until now only about one per cent can afford a trip abroad.13 The growth potentials are therefore enormous and in the face of a sustained economic boom in India, which has given rise to an aspi­ring middle class, also realistic. Since the Indian guests additionally “rank among those tourists in Switzerland with the best purchasing power” 14 the traditional tourist country of Switzerland, which has recently been struck by lulls in tourism, has developed a certain interest in fulfilling the film-induced expectations of its Indian guests. Engelberg as the shooting star of Indian tourism

The most popular destination of Indian tourists in Switzerland is the small, picturesque mountain town of Engelberg in Central Switzerland. The political municipality with 4,300 inhabitants is situated 1,000 metres high in a wide mountain valley at the foot of the already mentioned Mount Titlis.15 Tourism has a long tradition in Engelberg: the town has been visited by tourists since the mid 19th century. Today, 76 per cent of the community’s economic performance is owed to tourism; 90 per cent of the locals live from tourism.16 In the high season more than 9,000 guests stay in Engelberg, that’s twice the number of the population. But why has the small town of Engelberg become the shooting star of Indian tourism? This is due to a spectacular deal that the local mountain railway company Titlisbahnen arranged with the renowned Swiss tour operator Kuoni in 1998. A few years earlier, Kuoni acquired the largest Indian tour operator SOTC, and was looking for a Swiss accommodation site for its European package-tour travellers from India.17 The Titlis railways, in turn, had just leased the magnificent Grand Hotel Terrace Palace, built in 1905 but vacant for years, from the municipality of Engelberg. The Titlis railways and Kuoni agreed that Kuoni check in all Swiss overnight stays of the Indian travellers at the Terrace, while in the summer of 1999, Engelberg and the Titlis railways agreed to lend the town the nickname “Indian Village”.18 Already in the first year of its renewed operations, the Terrace had 34,000 overnight stays by Indian guests.19 Last year, already 72,000 Indians stayed in Engelberg.20 This travel group alone now amounts to one fifth of all overnight stays in the community

per year. Alongside the Terrace, a number of other hotels have long become specialised in Indian guests. Indian tourists usually start their tour of Europe in London and stay three or four days on average in Switzerland. From May to September – the months in which the Indian guests are there – travellers from other cultural circles are no longer accommodated at the Terrace, because the hotel is then entirely oriented towards the needs of the Indian tourists. A clock above the old reception of the Grand Hotel shows the time in Mumbai; the wellbeing of the guests is taken care of by Indian service staff, an Indian DJ and numerous Indian cooks. The cooking ingredients and utensils are delivered directly from India. The meals are served at tables large enough for an entire extended family, and Chai tea is served free of charge in the lobby. On guests and hosts: reciprocal imaginations

If one is interested in the stories that the Indian tourists have to tell about Engelberg or the inhabitants of Engelberg about the Indian guests, one soon establishes that the cultural contact between the Indian travellers and the locals is characterised by relatively stable, reciprocal imaginations – even though the first Indian package tourists arrived in Engelberg almost fifteen years ago. The Indians usually do not come with a specific image of Engelberg. In the famous Bollywood productions, Engelberg – as opposed to Lucerne, for instance – does not play a signifying let alone a signified role. Filming only took place on the mountain meadows in the surroundings or directly on Titlis. Nonetheless, the Indians have the concrete expectation that from their stay in Engelberg they will be able to experience “Switzerland”. And since the Bollywood productions depict Switzerland as a perfect Indian cinematic paradise,21 the now often published conclusion suggests that the Indians expect Engelberg to be an idyllic, spotlessly clean Swiss town in a pastoral landscape that is as similar as possible to the mythically glorified northern Indian mountain world. The mentioned aspects have led – also bearing in mind the all-round Indian support of the package tourists on location – to the unanimous diagnosis that the Indian guests would like to experience a “home away from home” in Engelberg.22 This assertion may not be wrong per se, for it is a quite frequent empirical finding in regard to the needs of package tourists. What is interesting, however, is that in the case of the Indian package tourists this diagnosis has opened up a discursive space that appears to suggest and legitimate certain reactions on the side of the hosts. Once the hidden narrative has asserted itself “the Indians don’t get involved with us” then the way is paved for narratives leading to the “home away from home” argument. These have long been a part of the Engelbergers’ everyday knowledge and can even be found in press reports beyond the region. They alternately complain about the inap-


near – far

propriately loud communication style of the Indian guests, their habit of bargaining for goods, their liking for walking barefoot in communal rooms or their unhygienic habits in the sanitary area. But most often the tale of the Bunsen burner is told. It relates that Indian extended families often set up camping cookers in their rooms to prepare their customary native curries. A direct source of this story could not be found; my interview partners all admitted knowing someone (who knew someone) who claimed to have directly seen it. When and where this was supposed to have happened could not be reconstructed, just as it was hardly possible to find out why the families – despite Indian all-round catering – would have been in the habit of doing so. Engelberg: an “Indian village”?

The mentioned narratives may also persist for the reason that the Indian tourists, during the Swiss leg of their European tour, have little opportunity to take a closer look around Engelberg. From the Terrace situated above the town, they take daytrips by bus to Titlis, of course, and also to the Jungfraujoch or the cities of Lucerne and Zurich.23 Hence, there is little time for the Indian guests to go for a stroll down to the village between the return of the busses and dinner in the hotel, and so there are few spontaneous cultural contacts in public space. When walking through the centre of Engelberg, one notices that there are many articles in the shop windows that are especially popular with the Indian tourists and that the service and sales staff have meanwhile been trained to respond to the purchasing behaviour of the Indian guests in a professional manner (and as is expected of them). Signs with notices like “No bargaining!” can only be found in a few shop windows. Most retailers instead make an effort to adapt to the holiday culture 24 of the new affluent tourist group – with success. Despite all practical and factual attempts to become acquainted, the local and regional discourses on the Indian guests remain bound to traditional knowledge. What I mean by “traditional” are the Eurocentric patterns of thought that stem from colonial times but are still efficacious today, as they have been meticulously reconstructed by theorists such as Stuart Hall 25 or Edward Said 26 . “The West” is celebrated as the climax of civilisation and the “rest of the world” is measured according to its standards. Our (everyday) knowledge reliably activated through the anecdotes described above – that loud communication, bargaining, walking barefoot and cooking on an open flame are “primitive” and “uncivilised” – stems from this context. It does not enter the minds of those reporting that the modes of behaviour mentioned above are first of all “different”, meaning that they could simply be expressions of social cohesion, communicative competence or openly displayed homeli-


ness that until now are foreign to us. Even the inexperience of Indians unused to running water in the sanitary area and with western toilets that provide toilet paper for cleaning oneself is regarded as a sign of being “uncivilised”. And yet already eighty years ago, the German sociologist Norbert Elias had interpreted the irritation of the Indians in the face of the hygienic habits of the West as a fully comprehensible problem that a “civilised” (Indian) culture endowed with higher thresholds of shame and embarrassment – the taboo of cleaning by hand – had with comparably lax (Western) hygienic standards 27 . So while the Indians proceed to conquer the Global West in the role of guests to be attended to, it appears that the Western culture, assigned the role of service providers and reporters, has had no choice but to react to the described power shifts in the field of tourism by orientalising the Indian tourists. 28 This may help restore the (world) order thrown out of joint in the field of tourism, at least discursively. But under this discourse not only the knowledge of the Indian guests that Switzerland is not India – not “home” – is in danger of disappearing, but also the enormous and variegated efforts to adapt that the small community of Engelberg has made in the past years, in the form of staff training, culinary reorientation and building investments (e.g., the redesign of spas). Sy bille Fr a n k  Dr. phil., *1972 in Elmshorn/Germany is Junior

Professor of Urban and Regional Sociology at the Technische Universität Berlin. Sybille Frank studied sociology, literary studies and history at the Universität Bielefeld, the University of Glasgow and the Freie Universität Berlin. From 2000 to 2003 she worked as a research assistant at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) in a German-Israeli research project; from 2003 to 2011 as a research assistant at the Institut für Soziologie of the Technische Universität Darmstadt and then at the interdisciplinary Darmstädter Stadtforschungs-Schwerpunkt “Eigenlogik der Städte”. In 2011/2012 she was the substitute Professor of Sociology of Space at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. Since 2011 Sybille Frank has been directing together with Helmuth Berking the research project “Die Inszenierung des Ganzen. Stadtmarketing und die Eigenlogik der Städte” at the Technische Universität Darmstadt. Publications (selection): “Der Mauer um die Wette gedenken. Die Formation einer Heritage-Industrie am Berliner Checkpoint Charlie”, Campus 2009; “Stadium Worlds. Football, Space and the Built Environment” (ed. with Silke Steets), Routledge 2010; “Turn Over. Cultural Turns in der Soziologie” (ed. with Jochen Schwenk), Campus 2010. Ascheraden, Alexandra von: Bollywood in Switzerland, in: Der Arbeitsmarkt 6/2007, p. 20–25. Dwyer, Rachel: Landschaft der Liebe: Die indischen Mittelschichten, die romantische Liebe und das Konsumdenken, in: Alexandra Schneider (ed.): Bollywood: Das indische Kino und die Schweiz. Zurich, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich 2002, p. 97–105. Elias, Norbert: The Civilizing Process. Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations. Revised edition. Oxford, Blackwell 2000. Follath, Erich: Big Bang Bollywood. Der Spiegel, Hamburg, 3 June, 2006. Gasser, Hans: Das Alpen-Delhi. 2011. Online: (last access 10/01/2013). Hall, Stuart & Gieben, Bram: The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power, in: Stuart Hall & Bram Gieben (eds.): Formations of Modernity. Cambridge, Polity Press, p. 275–320. Höchli, Alex: Engelberg, Schweiz. Engelberg, Verlag Buchhandlung Alexander Höchli-Délèze 1990. Keller, Urs: Indische Touristen in der Schweiz, in: Internationales Asienforum 3–4/2005, p. 279–288. Keller, Urs; Backhaus, Ulrich & Elsasser, Hans: Bollywood und der indische Tourismus in der Schweiz, in: Tourismus Journal 3/2002, p. 383–396. Said, Edward: Orientalism. New York, Random House 1978. Schneider, Alexandra: Die Schweiz im Hindi-Mainstream-Kino: Ein “Disneyland der Liebe”, in: Internationales Asienforum 3–4/ 2005, p. 265–278. Schneider, Alexandra: “Home Away From Home” oder Warum die Schweiz im indischen Kino (k)eine Rolle spielt, in: same (ed.):

near – far

Bollywood. Das indische Kino und die Schweiz. Zurich: Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich 2002, p. 136–145. Shedde, Meenakshi: Die Schweiz: Ein Disneyland der Liebe, in: Alexandra Schneider (ed.): Bollywood: Das indische Kino und die Schweiz. Zurich, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich 2002, p. 9–19. Stauber, Rahel: Tourismus: Die Invasion der “neuen Japaner”, in: Beobachter 21/2000. Thiem, Marion: Tourismus und kulturelle Identität, in: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte B47/2001, p. 27–32. Wenner, Dorothee: Happy End in Switzerland – Warum indische Bollywood-Filme in der Schweiz spielen, in: Ute Hoffmann (ed.): Reflexionen der kulturellen Globalisierung: Interkulturelle Begegnungen und ihre Folgen. Berlin, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung 2003, p. 127–140. World Tourism Organization (ed.): Compendium of Tourism Statistics: Data 2005–2009. Madrid, World Tourism Organization 2011. 1 Cf. Gasser, 2011. 2 Cf. Wenner, 2003. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

edition/SOTC.pdf (last access 02/04/2012). “The West and the Rest”, cf. Hall/Gieben, 1992. Wenner, 2003, p. 131. Loc. cit., p. 135. Cf. Schneider, 2002; Shedde, 2002. Schneider, 2005, p. 267. Follat, 2006. Dwyer, 2002; Schneider, 2005. Dwyer, 2002, p. 98. Ascheraden, 2007, p. 25. Dwyer, 2002, p. 98; Ascheraden, 2007, p. 23. World Tourism Organization, 2011, p. 179. Keller, Backhaus & Elsasser, 2002, p. 389. bevlkerungsstatistik_2011_gesamt.pdf (last access 02/04/2012). (last access 02/04/2012). Cf. Keller, 2005. (last access 02/04/2012). Cf. Stauber, 2000. artikel/k%C3%A4ptniglu-und-die-inder (last access 02/04/2012). Cf. Schneider, 2005. Keller, Backhaus & Elsasser, 2002, p. 391; Schneider, 2002, p. 139. Keller, 2005, p. 283. Cf. Thiem, 2001. Cf. Hall, 1994. Cf. Said, 1978. Cf. Elias, 2000.


near – far


Hotspot Engelberg Intersection of Migrants and Tourists BY Angela Sanders This text on Indian travellers and workers in the tourist service sector focuses on the social, cultural and economic exchange processes taking place in the context of global tourism. Furthermore, the respective specific cultural space that is formed and characterised by these processes is to be eluci­­dated. My main interest lies in the international service industry, particularly the migrant workers from India who on the backstages of tourism guarantee a smooth operation and thus the touristic experience of “Switzerland”. Tourism and migration

Present-day tourism research is almost inevitably confronted with the phenomenon of migration, since in touristic settings it is mainly about guaranteeing the guests a touristic experience during their stay, in our case the experience of “Switzerland”, and providing a specially created infrastructure to this end, which is mostly operated by highly mobile staff employed on a seasonal basis. Nevertheless, tourism and migration research have often been conceived and conducted separately. The cultural scholar Ramona Lenz points out that both branches of research explicitly deal with mobility, but – despite the mobile and indeed comparable objects of study – both continue to broad­ly adhere to the ideal of sedentariness.1 Lenz draws attention to artistic projects dedicated to the theme of “migration and tourism” that play a kind of pioneering role, since they deal with different forms of mobility, their representation and the blurring of the borders between the categories of ‘tourist’ and ‘migrant’.2 In the area of media coverage the thematic fields of “migration” and “tourism” are also separated and discursively conveyed in very different ways: While in the area of tourism the discourse on the national success story of Swiss tourism entrepreneurs pre­vails, who despite all crises3 were able to fill their beds in the Alps this season again, “migration” is increasingly equated with the supposedly poor integration of foreigners into the so-called majority society and the problems this entails. The economic benefit through the working power of migrants for Swiss tourism – that with annual revenues of around 15.6 thousand million4 counts as one of the most important and stable economic sectors in Switzerland – is hardly taken into consideration, even though tourism, as a sector that is extremely dependent on economic trends, essentially relies

on flexible migrant workers and a liberal labour market policy. Tourism thus stands in an interesting relationship to the thematic field of migration. In the tourist economy, a broad range of “low-“ to “high-skilled” migrants with different residence statuses are employed, and the various forms of mobility in tourism and migration are shaped by cultural and social complexities that overlap and intersect. Already in the early 20th century, tourism was regarded as a driving force and a sort of cure in the context of the Swiss mountain regions that spared the inhabitants from migrating to the industrial centres and spurred on the economic development. Cultural globalisation and the touristic image of “Switzerland”

In the research project “Und plötzlich China! – Das Setting ‘Schweiz’ im globalisierten Tourismus”,5 we started from the assumption that tourist destinations create cultural settings that are formed by historical, individual and media-related imaginations and are constantly newly negotiated and transformed through the participation of the most various actors. Actors from tourism and migration are not only involved in these complex processes of cultural exchange, they are the prime movers of cultural globalisation that, as expressed by Arun Appadurai, consists of (unequal) ‘global flows’ of images, capital, humans, ideas and ideologies.6 Hence, the image and the space of a destination are not only created by tourism entrepreneurs but also by the quintessence of all imaginations, perceptions, encounters, historical anecdotes, stories and personal experiences that the actors associate with a place. Images that present what is ‘typically Swiss’ result from interactions of local actors with the gaze of the travellers; they are both national and touristic images.7 In this sense, the ‘typical’ images of Switzerland – e.g., a wild, romantic mountain landscape along with the notion of an unspoilt, freedom-loving people – also go back to the images of foreign mountaineers, mainly Britons, who initiated ‘Alpine tourism’ in the 19th century and celebrated the Alpine panorama.8 Many people had already visited the tourist setting of Engelberg more than a century ago: These tourists came on account of the famous monastery, a wellknown Benedictine abbey, and the popular sanatorium. When winter sports activities later became increasingly popular among the guests, more and more plush hotels were built in Engelberg, so-called

near – far

Grand Hotels that evolved to a new type of hotel in the wake of the upswing in building activities in the 1880s. These ‘palaces of the upper bourgeoisie’ were given prestigious names such as ‘Europäischer Hof’, ‘Royal’ or ‘Crystal’ that refer to exclusivity for “upscale patrons”.9 At the centre of my interest is the ‘Grand Hotel Terrace Palace’ situated a bit above the village and offering an exclusive vista of the valley and the Alps. During the Belle Époque the hotel was visited by an international, wealthy elite that appreciated the cosmopolitan atmosphere in touristic spaces. In this sense, the touristic space around the ‘Hotel Terrace’ has constituted and formed itself in the past and present through numerous itineraries and encounters of various social actors including early Alpinists, members of the European bour­ geoisie, farmers, religious groups, local businessmen, migrant workers, managers and nowadays also Asian tourists. Curry, chai and cricket

For more than ten years, Indian travellers have been one of the strongest growing tourist groups in Switzerland – in the past years, they have gained increased importance for the tourism industry.10 It is now an open secret that the Bollywood scenes shot in the Swiss mountains have had a sustaining effect as free advertisement in India and led thousands of Indian guests to Central Switzerland, since the production of desire and longing in cinema uses images that are similar to those of tourism. Of course, most tourism operators only caught on to this “side effect” of cinema quite late. Although Indian tourism in Switzerland already commenced at the end of the 1990s, competition between the different destinations for Indian guests started just a few years ago: In 2007 Swiss news­ papers headlined: “Interlaken discovers India”, reported on an authentic “Indian Dinner Cruise” on the Brienzersee11 and wrote “Lucerne actively addressing India”.12 However, probably the most outstanding event to stimulate the Indian tourism market was organised by the Jungfraujoch Rail­ways and exceeded all other touristic performances; in 2009 the first cricket tournament took place at a height of 3,500 metres on the mountaintop of the Jungfraujoch.13 The legendary ‘Indian Cricket Club’ and a British team were invited. What is interesting when comparing the competing tourist destinations is that Asian tourist groups also stop at places lying at a distance to the tourist hotspots.14 For example, suburbs of Zurich such as Rümlang or Opfikon rank among the twenty locations most visited by Chinese guests. That is no real surprise when following the discourse on Indian tourists in the Swiss media. Enthusiastic headlines like “Hurrah, the Indians are coming!” 15, in the 1990s, were soon replaced by an alleged “bad reputation” preceding them, which was exploited by the media in a targeted way for years. Even as late as in 2010, a Swiss daily announced that

fundamental issues were now at stake in “Lucerne, the tourist capital of Switzerland”: “In some hotels, an entire caste of guests is no longer welcome: the Indian.” 16 Many hotels in Lucerne seem to no longer accommodate Indian tourist groups and are thus missing out on an important segment of customers. But also tourism operators in exclusive hotpots like Davos or Zermatt prefer to cater to the upper, well-funded segments of tourists rather than to group travellers. At the same time, they criticise that in the environs of Zurich and Lucerne, on the grounds that overnight accommodation, catering and mountain railway trips are offered at cheap prices and subject to special offers, thus “destroying the image of Switzerland”.17 Meanwhile, Indian package tourists, upon arriving in Switzerland, often stay overnight in the agglomeration of Zurich, eat in authentic Indian restaurants in the ‘Babel quarter’ of Lucerne – which counts as a “typical foreigners’ quarter” – and spend their short three- to four-day holiday in Switzerland in the small village of Engelberg, located about one hour by bus from Lucerne.18 Backstage: learn and earn

The ‘Grand Hotel Terrace’ stood empty for several years. Today, young snowboarders are predominantly accommodated in the winter, while in the summer season from May to September the hotel is geared specifically to Indian tourist groups. Original Indian cuisine is guaranteed, produced by an Indian gourmet catering enterprise that has at least seven different gourmet chefs who come each year from different regions of India. They are specialists in the needs and the, mainly vegetarian, dietary requirements of their Indian guests. After an excursion to the Titlis or to Lucerne, the regular evening Bollywood disco or a karaoke show awaits the Indian families. They are animated by a tour guide, who in the ‘Hotel Terrace’ waits for his transfer to London, where he will again greet a tourist group and accompany them through Europe. For most employees at the ‘Hotel Terrace’, mobility is not the exception but the rule – their individual migration projects are mostly interwoven with the transnationalisation processes of modern societies. During my presence in the ‘Hotel Terrace’, I got to know people from more than eight different nations, starting with the cleaning woman from Portugal, who had to secretly bring her daughter to Switzerland because she had no permit, to the Kurdish-Iraqi asylum seeker, who due to his political problems in his homeland hopes to receive a positive response to his application from the Swiss authorities, up to the Tamil refugees who work as (Indian) waiters in the hotel’s own speciality restaurant “Chandra” and the Indian tour guides and chefs who all stay at the ‘Hotel Terrace’. The Indian catering enterprise recruits Indian gour­met chefs for both the “Chandra” in the ‘Hotel Terrace’ and the restaurants of the various mountain railway stations and mobile canteens that follow


near – far

the tourist groups all the way to the Rhine Falls on the German border, offering them chai and small dishes after their boat ride on the Rhine. For these “specialised services”, the Federal Office of Migration issues short-term residence permits that allow the Indian employees to stay for up to six months depending on the respective employment contract. The permits for so-called third-country nationals are only issued “if their employment complies with an overall economic interest”.19 Similar to the tour guides, the chefs work every day from five in the morning to eleven at night during their five-month stay in Switzerland. During my field studies, one cook at one of the mountain cableway stations explained the diverse dishes to me and responded to my question of how much he earns: “They are, they are paying the staff depends on their experience, depends on their project, so I am in this project like that. How the project will go, that’s how my salary will be decided. It is basically learn and earn, you know?” Mobility, contract labour and the fact that social relationships are lived across spatial and geographical distances have become part of the everyday life of people working along the routes of Indian tourism: be it the Italian and Czech bus drivers chauffeuring the tourists through Europe or the Ukrainian crew conducting boat tours on the Vierwaldstättersee. The view to the touristic “backstage” reveals that the responsibilities and employment conditions at the ‘Hotel Terrace’ are fuzzy: The hotel belongs to the village of Engelberg that also operates the mountain railway company, but on site two Indian firms manage the business; older, already retired men work as representatives of the firms and, as informal supervisors, they exert control by evaluating the quality of the food or counting the reve­nues of the mobile canteens in the evening, while claiming that they do this work out of “friendship”. One gains the impression that, in this grey zone of globalised tourism, a low-wage country has been transferred to the Swiss Alps, as if it was part of an outsourcing process. The ‘Hotel Terrace’, where there is still an air of the Belle Époque, reminds one of an old cruise liner navigating rather awkwardly through an extra-legal ocean. On board, an inter­ national crew that flexibly reacts to business fluctuations and demand. Indian tourism in Engelberg has also brought with it a “transnational set” of insider labour methods, rules, authorisations and an hierarchical system, similar to what can be encountered in border regions or transit zones. The activities are temporary, in part subject to arbitrary conditions and not easy to see through from the outside. Keeping costs low, however, also has the positive effect that travelling in the context of a “package offer” has become more affordable and thus also more democratic.


Picnic in transitory space

The hotel also assumes a kind of transit function. The Indian guests are only in the hotel either early in the morning or late in the evening; in this way the three groups that temporarily live under the roof of the ‘Hotel Palace’: The Indian employees and the tourists as well as the employees from Switzer­ land or Europe and the local population only marginally come into contact with each other. This is the most likely explanation as to why stereo­ typical perceptions have continued for so long. A tour guide, who during a lunch break at the mountain railway restaurant Trübsee gave me a short interview, sees the position of the Indian travellers as follows: “[They are] still trying to learn, to understand what Western life is.” Besides the numerous complicated problems like visa issues or keeping to the travel schedule that the tour guides have to solve on a daily basis, he also points out that the tourists are “still ill treated or dominated as Indians or as Asians …”. This is something the tourists can’t understand. They are on holidays, or as he describes it: “they are on picnics”. The Indian tourists want to enjoy their trip in “heaven-like” Engelberg, and their fascination with Switzerland mainly has to do with the aesthetic scenery. That also becomes evident in the uncountable Hindi film scenes showing Switzerland’s picturesque landscape. The storylines of the films, however, are usually not set in the real Swiss landscape; it is instead a metaphorical, imaginary landscape, an exotic setting for the Bollywoodspecific song-and-dance interludes. Switzerland appears as a projection screen, as the site of enhanced Indian everyday life.20 There­fore, it comes as no surprise that the Swiss-Indian tour operator advertises Switzerland in its travel prospectus in a flowery Bollywood language: “The extreme beauty of Switzerland is unsettling. Wild, untamed Alps flood the senses and pure snow-caressed air enters the body. Speechless and unable to think, there’s a primordial sense of the eternal; the heart begins to stir. Tinkling cowbells recede into dreaminess, before a meadow full of Edelweiss startles you awake. Here the Alps tinkle with cowbells, knives are souvenirs, and chocolate is perfect. Switzerland is so idyllic, you tend to forget they have banks, too.” It is difficult to attribute this text to the real world. It instead describes the creation of a place that never existed … Many texts on tourism are based on the narrative of “destruction”. Since tourists import “foreign” concepts and local traditions become mundane mass articles upon the arrival of tourists, it appears as if tourism were contaminating local systems and leading to “trouble in paradise”. That may be true in certain regions of the world. In the case of Indian tourism in Switzerland, though, the tourist gaze21 becomes placeless. The desire for intensive experience is authentic enough and doesn’t need an external simulation of the

near – far

“authentic”.22 In the process of mobility, the Indian spaces travel along with the tourists and affirm their imagination. Indian tourists do not set off to discover authentic knowledge on site, as some European scientists had done before them. Rather, through their presence in Engelberg, a new space has been formed that is constantly unfolding and changing. For example, the Indian owner of the gourmet food company in Engelberg bought his own hotel and it is just a matter of time until others will do the same … In today’s globalised tourism, then, the classical perspective – originally directed from the ‘developed’ centre of Europe to the ‘exotic South’ – has been reversed. As a tour guide proudly stresses: “People of the so-called ‘Orient’ will even come in greater numbers to Europe”. In this sense, we can indeed assume that tourist destinations or their “image” do not possess a fixed meaning, but that the touristic space is subject to constant transformation. The Indian tourists and migrants appear ideally prepared for these changes and for the inter­play of constructed experiences in tourist destinations. Angela Sanders *1974 in Zurich. Since 2011 doctoral candidate at

the Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies (SFM), Neuchâtel, research associate at the Institut für Theorie (ith), a research institute of the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. She studied ethnology, social and economic history and film studies at the Universität Zürich and the University of Edinburgh. Master of Art in Public Sphere (MAPS), Hochschule Luzern – Design & Kunst; SNF PhD bursary within the frame of the Marie-Heim-Vögtlin-Programme (2011–2013); publications (selection): “Titlis, Terrace, Truebsee: A Troubled Paradise? – Indian Tourism in the Swiss Alps”, in: Jill Scott et al. (ed.): Trans­discourse 2. Turbulent Societies, Springer Wien, 2012; “Itineraries within the Spanish-Moroccan borderlands”, in: Claudia Reiche & Andrea Sick (eds.): Do not exist: Europe, Woman, Digital Medium, Bremen, 2008; “Contested Space. Zürich – Berlin – Tokyo. Ein Essay über die temporäre Aneignung von öffentlichen Räumen”, in: Jürgen Krusche, Japanisch-Deutsches Zentrum Berlin (ed.): Der Raum der Stadt, 2008.

Berner Zeitung, 22 March, 2007, “Schweizer Touristiker entdecken Indien. Indische Sitten für Anfänger”. Neue Luzerner Zeitung, 30 March, 2007, “Luzern bearbeitet Indien aktiv”. Bilanz, Zurich, 8 June, 2007, “Touristen aus China: Billigpreisland Schweiz”. Cash, Zurich, 21 May, 1999, “Hurra, die Inder kommen!” Migros Magazin, Zurich, 6 February, 2012, “Käpt’n Iglu und die Inder”. Tages Anzeiger, Zurich, 19 June, 2010, “Mit dem Gaskocher ins Luxus­hotel”. Websites: Bundesamt für Migration (Federal Office of Migration) medienmitteilungen/2011/ref_2011-11-233.html Bundesamt für Statistik (Federal Office of Statistics) Gourmindia Luzern Longines Cricket Players Jungfraujoch Institut für Theorie (ith), a research institute of the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, 1 Cf. Lenz, 2010, p. 80. 2 Cf. Lenz, 2010, p. 81–96, and the artistic works she mentions, among


4 5

6 7 8 9 10

11 12 13

Appadurai, Arun: Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press 1996. Conrad, Sebastian & Randeria, Shalini: Jenseits des Eurozentrismus: Postkoloniale Perspektiven in den Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften. Frankfurt/Main, 2002. Gyr, Ueli: Geschichte des Tourismus: Strukturen auf dem Weg zur Moderne, in: Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG): Europäische Geschichte Online (EGO). Mainz, 2010. threads/europa-unterwegs/tourismus/ (last access 11/29/2011). Keller, Urs: Der indische Tourismus in der Schweiz. Eine empirische Untersuchung mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Beziehung zwischen Tourismus und Film. Dissertation, Universität Zürich 2002. Lenz, Ramona: Mobilitäten in Europa. Migration und Tourismus auf Kreta und Zypern im Kontext des europäischen Grenzregimes. Dissertation, Universität Frankfurt am Main 2010. Randeria, Shalini: Verwobene Moderne: Zivilgesellschaft, Kastenbindungen und nicht-staatliches Familienrecht im (post)kolonialen Indien, in: Shalini Randeria, Martin Fuchs & Antje Linkenbach (eds.): Konfigurationen der Moderne: Diskurse zu Indien, Soziale Welt Sonderband 15. Baden-Baden, 2005. Schneider, Alexandra: “Home Away From Home” oder Warum die Schweiz im indischen Kino (k)eine Rolle spielt, in: same (ed.): Bollywood. Das indische Kino und die Schweiz. Zürich, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich 2002, p. 136–145. Spillmann, Peter: Und plötzlich China! Das Setting “Schweiz” im globalisierten Tourismus. KTI-Abschlussbericht 2007. http://www. (last access 10/01/2013). Urry, John & Sheller, Mimi: Tourism Mobilities. Places to play, places to stay. London, 2004. Newspapers and magazines (ordered in the sequence of the quotes in the text): Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 12 July, 2009, “Dem Schweizer Tourismus steht das Schlimmste noch bevor”. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 17 July, 2011, “Eurokrise in den Alpen”. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 31 October, 2011, “Schweizer Tourismus kämpft gegen ein Ungeheur”.

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

others, Lisl Ponger (Passagen, 1996), Michael Zinganel et al. (Saisonstadt, 2006), Spillmann and Zinganel (Backstage*Tourismus, 2004), Christoph Oertli (no sunday no monday, 2004). Cf. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 12 July, 2009, “Dem Schweizer Tourismus steht das Schlimmste noch bevor”; Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 17 July, 2011, “Eurokrise in den Alpen”; Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 31 October, 2011, “Schweizer Tourismus kämpft gegen ein Ungeheuer”. Cf. Bundesamt für Statistik 2011, de/index/themen/10/01/pan.html (last access 10/01/2014). The research project took place in 2006/07 at the Institut für Theorie (ith) of the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, cf. forschung (last access 10/01/2014). Cf. Appadurai, 1996. Cf. Spillmann, 2007. Cf. Gyr, 2010. Cf. Spillmann, 2007. According to a former employee of the Swiss mission in Mumbai, it is “a practical impossibility” to review all visa applications. For this reason, “the entire visa process is outsourced” to a private firm that operates the subsidiary of Kuoni and in advance controls the visa applications for Swiss missions. Berner Zeitung, 22 March, 2007, “Schweizer Touristiker entdecken Indien. Indische Sitten für Anfänger”. Neue Luzerner Zeitung, 30 March, 2007, “Luzern bearbeitet Indien aktiv”. Cf. Bilanz, Zurich, 8 June, 2007, “Touristen aus China: Billigpreisland Schweiz”. Cash, Zurich, 21 May, 1999, “Hurra die Inder kommen!” Tages Anzeiger, Zurich, 19 June, 2010, “Mit dem Gaskocher ins Luxushotel”. Bilanz, Zurich, 8 June, 2007, “Touristen aus China: Billigpreisland Schweiz”. Cf. also the contribution by Sybille Frank “India in Switzerland – Engelberg as a Global-local Contact Zone” in this publication. Cf. medienmitteilungen/2011/ref_2011-11-233.html Cf. Schneider, 2002. Urry & Sheller, 2004. Spillmann, 2007.


near – far


near – far

App r o a c h i n g a n d Pa s s i n g by E a c h Ot h e r – A s p e ct s o f t h e R e c i p r o c a l I n f l u e n c e o f T w o Pa r a l l e l W o r l d s B a r b a r a Em m en egger in con v er s at ion w i t h Pe t er Spil l m a n n In Lucerne tourism has quite evidently inscribed itself in the city’s structure over the past 200 years, and the social conditions of the 19th century created by tourism are still readable. Wealthy guests were put up at the large hotels by the lake or on the hills, sunny sites with a panoramic view of the Alps. Modest little houses for the domestics and coachmen, on the other hand, were situated in shadowy and moist locations hidden behind the Gütsch on the former edges of the town – they can still be found today in the area of the Basel- and Bernstrasse. Barbara Emmenegger The inscribed history of tourism can also be read in the city’s public spaces. On the one hand, there is the wonderful lakeside promenade protected from traffic by the hotels themselves and is still one of the most important public spaces in Lucerne, intensively used by the most various people – to stroll about in nice weather at noon or on the weekends. Peter Spillmann Whereby the latter most likely did not apply to the Lucerne domestics. They had to exclusively use the street behind the hotels to reach their workplaces. Barbara Emmenegger Yes, but it is interesting that the residents of Lucerne always made the nice tourist locations their own and did not leave them entirely to tourism, like the lakeside promenade or the Reussufer in the old part of town. On principle – and one can observe this nicely in Lucerne, as well – the use and appropriation of public spaces strongly changed in the course of the last century, they were democratised. Lakeside promenades and parks, like the Arboretum in Zurich, originally counted as elegant places of the upper bourgeoisie for strolling – today they are intensively used and appreciated by the broad masses. Yet this does not hide the fact that, even today, public spaces are still locations from which certain groups are excluded. Peter Spillmann At any rate, it is interesting that the lakeside promenade – which perfectly spatialises the bourgeois concept of the public sphere in the 19th century in that it was where the new class strolled, presented itself, assessed on another and entered in to an exchange beyond family, political and cultural borders – provides space for the public until this day. In contrast, present-day tourism, for example, the segment of package tourists from Asia specific for Lucerne,

Peter Spillmann




1–4 Business around one of the mobile catering stalls of GourmIndia (Photos: Angela Sanders)


inscribes itself the city in an entirely different way. It basically does not produce a public sphere anymore. Barbara Emmenegger The Schwanenplatz and the Löwenplatz would be prominent urban squares, but they are now fully sacrificed to bus tourism. For the intensive handling of persons and the numerous arrivals and departures of busses, both squares are degraded to transport hubs – just like the Bahnhofsplatz, by the way, which is fully utilised by public transport and encircled by private transport. All these squares could be used in a totally different fashion. As gateways to the city or as meeting places, they would have spacious areas to offer. The city would attain a very different character. These squares could stage the train station, the old part of town and the lake with its landscape panorama. At the Löwenplatz one notices that the facilities that are interesting for Lucerne, for example, the cultural institutions in the Bourbaki-Panorama, are oriented entirely to the inside. All that is still present on the outside are the clocks. Peter Spillmann What effect do specifically touristic uses as they can be observed in Lucerne have on the everyday life and activities of the other city users? Barbara Emmenegger The group travellers, the by far largest group of tourists in Lucerne, move about only in a very small area: their presence is limited to the Schwanenplatz, the lakeside, the area between the Lion Monument and the Löwenplatz, perhaps with a detour to Reussufer via the Kapellbrücke. These crowds of people may indirectly contribute to a certain big-city flair because the places are thus highly frequented. But I would hazard that these self-contained, large groups are simply ignored and no longer perceived by the residents of Lucerne. There is hardly a real exchange between the guests from various nations and the Lucerne population. One is maybe asked to shoot a group photo, but one will hardly learn where the guests come from, about their profession, cultural preferences or political views. A common situation and time are lacking for this to happen. The time pressure on group tours must be huge.


near – far

It is known that in the travel arrangements for guests from India or China, who visit eight European countries in eleven days, for example, an average of 1.2 days is planned for Switzerland. So around 50 minutes remain for Lucerne!

Peter Spillmann


The available time and the mass of tourists make all the difference compared to tourism a hundred years ago. The readjustment after the major tourism crisis to mass tourism had a great impact on the public in Lucerne as well. In earlier times, the guests stayed much longer, they were put up in hotels and travelled through the region. They had time to visit museums and places of interest and to dine in local restaurants. From the 1970s and 80s onwards, it was increasingly Japanese and later on Korean groups that – like the Indian and Chinese guests today – quickly paced across the Kapellbrücke and through the city. At first people made fun of this, but today – at least that’s how it appears to me – they are practically overlooked. I think that Lucerne has long grown accustomed to mass tourism and ignores it to a certain degree. Nevertheless, the pride taken in the touristic heritage still seems to exist. Peter Spillmann Various prominent places; such as the Schwanenplatz, Löwenplatz or Europaplatz, are shaped by the overlapping of different uses. The tourists form just one group of actors. What does that entail for urban space? Are these locations overused, so to speak? Barbara Emmenegger I find it very problematic to apply the term “overuse” in the context of public space. In benchmarking, cities vie for attention. Public spaces are a crucial factor in the ranking, they are beautified and upgraded, commercialised and marketed. The spaces are also used accordingly and that can also be a sign of success. Talk is often of overuse, when certain groups of people or forms of appropriating public spaces are not desired. The talk of overuse is basically a more politically correct but concealed demand for exclusion. Littering Barbara Emmenegger


is frequently just the result of an intensive usage of public space. Overlapping usages in public spaces are customary, to be observed everywhere, and will be even more so in the future. Public spaces and their maintenance must be correspondingly dynamic and able to react to this. What is perhaps special is that tourism in Lucerne forms a practically contact-free usage level of its own at certain places. The part of Schwanenplatz burdened with the infrastructure for mass tourism, between Bucherer and Gübelin, is now only a terminal, thus becoming a “non-place” as it is expressed by Marc Augé. That might also make it easier for locals to disregard these places. Peter Spillmann There is apparently no exchange, no contact between the different groups of users. Could that be altered through a different, “enhanced” design, for example? Barbara Emmenegger Firstly, the question arises as to what exchange means and which forms of exchange between different groups would make sense. In our research work on public spaces, we observed that the individual groups, despite their spatial proximity, prefer to remain among themselves as an important form of distinction. But we also observed that interaction between the groups does take place all the same, whether through tiny gestures, gazes or demarcation manoeuvres, or simply through the fact of the presence of the others. The forms of using and appropriating public spaces are often very creative and by no means provided for by the original design. For example, a nice midday along the lakeside promenade – that’s fantastic, people sitting down everywhere, even finding a little place for a nap, billing and cooing and flirting. Design usually lags far behind the social practices. Repeated attempts are made to further specific usages, to prevent or suppress others by means of planning and design measures, but the fact is that one can hardly predict what the users will do or not do in a specific public space. They do what they want to do. Peter Spillmann Shopping and consuming appear to be a common feature that tourists share with other groups of users, whereby the forms of consumption and the “desired products” obviously vary. Barbara Emmenegger I think that parallel worlds exist as regards the use of public spaces, but also as far as consumption is concerned. On the one hand, the old quarter of Lucerne has developed into a global shopping centre, as can be seen in all European cities. Whether I go shopping in Barcelona, Rome

near – far

or the old quarter of Lucerne, I always have the comforting certainty of finding the familiar stores with the familiar labels. That’s what makes the city centres so horribly boring. Local and tourist consumers encounter each other all the time here. But then there are always a few specific stores that are fully geared to tourism; clock stores like Bucherer and Gübelin that orient their services entirely towards Asian mass tourism, or Bally that even in deep winter offers a wide range of summer shoes to meet the requirements of global seasons. So in the centre of the city, parallel worlds actually exist at various places that function in economic and probably also cultural terms only for the tourists. Peter Spillmann The situation around the Lion Monument is also such a parallel world. Barbara Emmenegger Yes, the situation there is astoundingly reminiscent of a forgotten courtyard. The grounds appear as if the city had no interest in this site. At least it is quiet here, in contrast to the noisy traffic along the lake and on the Löwenplatz. It appears almost contemplative; something that in turn would be the positive side of an almost forgotten corner. Peter Spillmann The Lion Monument of Lucerne is indeed the most visited monument in Switzerland. Millions of tourists walk by here. The three-minute photo shooting in front of the dying lion is the cultural anchor point of a visit to Switzerland, as it were. For a moment, it becomes tangible where one is, in Europe, in Switzerland. That is comparable with the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Barbara Emmenegger Do the many visitors even have an idea of what the monument means? It stands for a complex historical event that seems almost un-Swiss from a present-day perspective; mercenaries who defended the French king with their lives against the revolution! Peter Spillmann It thus stands for the end of the Old Swiss Confederacy and the system of mercenaries, which was an important part of inner-Swiss culture and made many families rich, but time and again also unhappy. Perhaps tourism requires precisely these kinds of places that actually represent voids, to which no one feels really obliged and attached anymore, but above which – immediately comprehensible by guests from all over the world – the melancholy breath of history hovers. Barbara Emmenegger That would imply not dealing with the country one travels to, if possible! In that respect, the Lion Monument is ideal. During the 50-minute stay in Lucerne, including the purchase of watches and panorama photos, the site offers the ideal diversion in dramaturgical terms. A

very crucial aspect of travelling in groups is certainly the exchange among each other, the fun one has together, but also the occasional conversation about one’s worries and the daily life one has left behind. Peter Spillmann I also think that in classical long-haul tourism an exchange with another culture cannot take place. In the best case, what can commence, from the storm of impressions of another reality that perhaps appears exotic, is the critical questioning of one’s own cultural identity. Later, in one’s memory, the degree of the experienced uncertainty will at best correlate with the intensity of the travel experience. Barbara Emmenegger Which in turn means that it doesn’t really matter where this occurs. That may be one of the reasons why tourists usually show a high limit of tolerance regarding the locations and spaces in which they have to stay most of the time. In a certain respect, the situation at the Schwanenplatz resembles the situation in the transit zone of an airport: standing around, waiting, buying a watch, eating a snack, taking a rest, shooting a couple of photos … In the end, the square looks exactly like a terminal.


For me, it appears to be a crucial point that tourism, at the venues in which it takes place, engenders cultural realities of its own, which function as parallel worlds alongside everyday life and often appear as spectacular UFOs from remote worlds. Little has changed in this respect since the appearance of the Grand Hotel spaceships on the green meadows in Central Switzerland – even if it seems to be more profitable nowadays to build the dream worlds in the Arabian desert or in the form of cruise liners on the high seas … Yet a very special cultural antagonism of current tourism in Lucerne is surely the following: Tourism has formed and characterised the city, engendering much of what “Lucerne’s residents” also perceive as part of their own cultural identity. But the tourists are now being channelled past this history in a sort of canal of clichés, without noticing much of it.

Peter Spillmann


near – far

Barbara Emmenegger studied sociology, philosophy and

science of journalism at the Universität Zürich. Since 2006 she has been a lecturer and project head at the Institut für Soziokulturelle Entwicklung in the Zentrum für Stadt- und Regionalentwicklung of the Hochschule Luzern – Soziale Arbeit. Barbara Emmenegger is specialised in the themes of urban and spatial sociology and socio-spatial development processes. Academic works and publications on gender studies and body politics as well as on themes related to spatial and urban sociology. A research project on sexual harassment in higher education, funded by the Nationalfonds, was concluded with the publication “anmachen – platzanweisen”, published in 2000 by Haupt Verlag, Bern. Her most recent publication in cooperation with Monika Litscher is “Perspektiven zu öffentlichen Räumen. Theoretische und praxisbezogene Beiträge aus der Stadtforschung”, published by Interact Verlag, Lucerne.

1 Schwanenplatz Lucerne 2 Old Swiss House Lucerne (Photos: Peter Spillmann)




1–4 Engelberg


High – low

The Accidental Tourist: Cézanne in the Alps BY Maura Coughlin The relationship of the later landscape paintings of French Painter Paul Cézanne to his home terroir of Provence has often been celebrated as a sustained, rooted meditation on a provincial place (Kallmyer, 2003; Conisbee & Coutagne, 2006). Unlike the nomadic travels of his contemporary, Paul Gauguin, Cézanne is hardly ever thought of as a tourist artist, which is to say, as an outsider to his landscape. But in the summer of 1896, while on holiday in the village of Talloires in the French Alps, Cézanne produced one painting from exactly this position. Unlike many of his late paintings that, after his death, remained in the studio, abandoned, unfinished or unfinishable, this he would quite quickly consider sufficiently ‘realized’ to sign and send to his dealer, Ambrose Vollard, for sale. Lake Annecy (1896) was presumably painted from the very grounds of the hotel that Cézanne occupied that summer in Talloires. In this one case, what is at stake in reorienting Cézanne from the position of a local authority who lives in the landscape to that of a tourist, who passes through and consumes a landscape through the already constructed framework of tourism? Although Cézanne’s 35 year painterly engagement with Provence seems to be an exemplary case of a painter’s attachment to his native landscape, his letters speak to many wanderings in his later years, as he restlessly traveled from Aix en Provence to rented studios and extended stays in Paris, Normandy and the Fontainebleau area. He often lived apart from his wife Hortense Fiquet: she had been born in the eastern region of the Jura but had become, by choice, a Parisian. Her desire to take formal family vacations, rather than going to earth in Cézanne’s native Provence, was informed by her identification with bourgeois metropolitan culture and its touristic patterns of consuming nature (Green, 1990; Bernard, 1978). Cézanne once notoriously complained of his wife’s tastes that she liked “nothing but Switzerland and lemonade” (Sidlauskas). So, in the summer of 1896, Cézanne relented to the demands of Hortense and their son Paul, and the three spent two months on the shore of Lake Annecy in the village of Tallories at a well-appointed hotel in a former Benedictine abbey. Although the Cézanne literature is full of nasty anecdotes about his wife’s manipulations, this trip was hardly a feminine whim; a doctor at Vichy had prescribed this rest cure to the diabetic artist. This essay argues that the touristic context of this work has been conveniently camouflaged by biographic anecdotes such as this because the

reputation of Cézanne as masculine, modernist genius depends -- in part -- on the notion that artistic forms of travel and vision have a valorized, intrinsic worth, whereas the consumption of place practiced by tourists is an inauthentic, trivial and therefore devalued form of mass culture that, consequently, is most often gendered feminine (Huyssen, 1986). Central to the biographic tale of Cézanne’s relationship to his site, Lake Annecy, is an affirmative performance of this “authentic” masculine identity that is produced in opposition to the “spurious” tourist desires of Hortense and other female tourists to this place. By the time that Cézanne arrived, en famille to the shore of Lake Annecy, it was a well-trod bit of ground that offered lake and mountain recreation as well as nearby restorative mineral springs in Aix-les-Bains and Chambery. For many an enervated Symbolist, sites like this offered an urban person’s fantasy of nature. (Hirsh, 2004, p. 157). For Cézanne, in sharp contrast to the dry, Meditteranean landscape of Provence, Talloires offered an utterly different sense of place: the Alpine region of Haute Savoie has saturated color in its lush pastures, productive orchards, thick hayfields, and dramatically erupting rock pinnacles. This was the sort of landscape whose representation, for many Frenchmen, evoked nationalist place-myths either Swiss or German. Cézanne writes from Talloires of his restlessness and aesthetic indifference to the place: “When I was in Aix, it seemed to me that I should be better elsewhere, now that I am here, I think with regret of Aix. Life for me is beginning to be of a sepulchral monotony …” He continues: “to relieve my boredom, I paint; it is not much fun, but the lake is very good with the big hills all around, two thousand meters high they say, not as good as our home country, although without exaggeration it really is fine. But when one was born down there, it’s all lost – nothing else means a thing” (Rewald, 1976, p. 250–252). To his young friend, Joachim Gasquet, he describes the narrow center of the lake as a type of scenery that “seems to lend itself to the linear exercises of the young English miss. It’s still nature, of course, but a little bit as we have learned to see it in the travel sketchbooks of young ladies” (Rewald, 1976, p. 250). Each time Lake Annecy is catalogued or mentioned in the Cézanne literature, this chauvanistic anecdote is repeated. Yet this quip is fascinatingly compressed in its dismissiveness: to unpack it a bit, linearity smacks of stale academicism, and amateur sketching has a foreign and female face. Were there young English women working on this site that summer in 1896?


High – low

British tourism to the Alps had been growing ever since the late eighteenth century; visitors were drawn to mountain passes and peaks, mineral baths and boating. Pricey Alpine accommodations developed in response. Railways lines that made it to Annecy on the French/Swiss border were finished much sooner than those within Switzerland (Bernard, 1978, p. 94–95). Formerly a Grand Tour stop for northern artists like J. M. W. Turner, vacation destinations in the Alps, in the later nineteenth century, competed for tourists with towns like Dieppe on the Normandy coast. On the Mediterranean, the notion of the “Cote d’Azur” was invented in the Third Republic as luxury hotels and private chateaux sprung up in formerly sleepy fishing


villages. Even Aix-en-Provence, Cézanne’s hometown, was becoming a fashionable summer spot for international travelers (Bernard, 1978). The packaging and therefore democratizing of mass travel by Thomas Cook encouraged British tourists to travel in great numbers on the continent from the 1850s onward. In response to the growing market for tourism, some individuals sought to distinguish themselves from the pack’s mentality by emulating the long duration, sedentary communion with site practiced in the artists’ colony (Bernard, 1978). Literary historian James Buzard interprets this as a performative gesture by some (who consider themselves) “anti-tourists” to consume nature in the valorized way of an artist as an effort to establish a “meaningful and long-lasting contact with the visited place” (1993, p. 28, 121). In the 1890s, many Victorian lady travelers published illustrated travelogues that mapped out their personal identifications with place. (Domosh & Seager, 2001, p. 145). The remarkable photographer Lily Bristow accompanied the British Alpinist Fred Mummery on some of his most difficult climbs: her images were published in 1895 in his book, My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus. Echoing Cézanne’s dismissal of the Alpine sketches of English lady travelers, ingrate Mummery made the infamous remark that ‘”a]ll mountains appear doomed to pass through three stages: An inaccessi-


ble peak – The most difficult ascent in the Alps – An easy day for a lady.” (p. 160). A few summers ago, while in Talloires (as an accidental tourist myself), I searched the departmental archives in Annecy for sketches by the sort of young English women dismissed by Cézanne’s remarks to see just how they might have “learned to see” nature. I found several examples of anonymous amateur sketches of the lake, including views of the Chateau of Duignt. Amateur Anglophone artists were instructed in how to see nature by popular sketching manuals like James Duffield Harding’s (1797–1863) Sketches at Home and Abroad (London, 1836) that encouraged choosing of Alpine sites that included water, mountains and medieval architecture. Sketches produced by many amateur artists, such as this view of the Chateau of Duignt on Lake Annecy, offered a perfect conjunction of the historical and picturesque. Historian of British art, Ann Bermingham, in her recent study, Learning to Draw (2000, p. 126), emphasizes that these manuals marketed and taught systems of composing and sketching landscape to an increasingly wide British public of amateurs (including women and children).” Like the democratization of travel, this mass marketing of landscape to amateur consumers posed an uncomfortable contrast for Cézanne as attested to in his letters and as repeated by his later biographers. Cézanne’s very view (if not the exact lakeside position) across Lake Annecy from Talloires to the Chateau of Duignt features prominently in the French travel text, Nice et Savoie: sites pittoresques (Paris, 1864). Such illustrated travel guides proliferated in France from the 1820s onward, mapping out its provinces and provincial cultures (Abélès, 1993; Gerson, 1996). Following a standard relationship of text and image, this framed view accompanies textual descriptions of the topography and inhabitants of the Provençal department of the Alpes-Maritimes and the Alpine departments of Savoie and Haute Savoie. Directed to the picturesque view of the chateau across the lake by the pointing figure who reclines in the foreground, the viewer is didactically shown a newly accessible and newly French site, for these regions, covered in the text’s title, had only just joined the modern French state. It was therefore only after being ceded to France (in 1860) that the lake, formerly a private territory of the House of Savoie, became accessible to the general public. After unification, train lines were brought to Annecy, connecting it to the rest of France, and thereby opening it up to tourism in 1866. Like the guidebooks that declare Haute Savoie “French,” the practice of tourism maps out the nation, performs, mediates and makes meaning of place both local and national (MacCannel, 1976). Six years before Cézanne’s visit, an article ran in Le Figaro by poet and rustic novelist André Theuriet; its title asked “Connaissez-vous Talloires?” Such

High – low

national promotions of the lakeside village made it a summer destination for French and other tourists (only ten hours from Paris by train) and made Theuriet a local hero. An early twentieth-century poster by Albert Besnard repeats the romantic formula of the earlier travel text, directing attention to the specific architectural motif of the Chateau on the far shore and again siting the viewer above the lake in a panoramic position of authority. In this case, the spectators of landscape have changed from rugged wayside travelers to well-dressed tourists with walking sticks, one male, and one female. Postcard photographers at the turn of the century appropriated from landscape painting the framing strategies of the picturesque and sublime: their resulting views, like the illustrated guides that precede them, participate in mapping out this new corner of France and claiming it as picture worthy (Duval, 1978). Tourists inhabit many of these views, declaring it a landscape in which one should physically linger and visually consume the spectacle. If we believe the boredom affected in his letters from Talloires that summer, Cézanne did not approach this landscape with the eager “fresh eye” that Lucy Lippard tells us is pervasive in tourist descriptions (Lippard, 1999, p. 2). Cézanne was emphatically not a painter of the “tourist trap”: a favorite subject of Monet on Normandy coast in the 1860s (Herbert, 1994). As Pierre Bourdieu observes, many intellectuals distinguish themselves from bourgeois tourists by preferring unpopulated “natural nature” to the “organized, signposted cultivated nature” (Urry, 1990, p. 89) offered the mass culture of tourism. Erasing signs of fellow tourists and other human presences (apart from the old chateau and the hint of a cleared field on the mountain slope) diminished Cézanne’s contradictory complicity with tourism in general and its panoramic appetites in particular. Literary critic Andreas Huyssen (1986, p. 50) tells us that “the gendering of an inferior mass culture as feminine goes hand in hand with the emergence of a male mystique in modernism.” Huyssen explains that “the problem is not the desire to differentiate between forms of high art and depraved forms of mass culture and its co-options. The problem is rather the persistent gendering as feminine all of that which is devalued.” Although the mass-culture associations of tourism are effectively camouflaged, denied or avoided by many of his sympathetic modernist biographers for such gendered reasons, I would add that Cézanne’s image is also inevitably complicit in the visual re-territorialization of Haute Savoie as French landscape. Relevant to this discussion of artistic biography and its ties to place is another sort of travel that cannot be called tourism: many art historians have remarked that Cézanne’s representation of the

Chateau de Duignt bears some resemblance to works painted by Gustave Courbet while in exile in Switzerland. Courbet the Franche-Comtois worker-painter had been a role model that Cézanne emulated in his early years in Paris by playing up his provincial accent, exaggerating his crude manners, and refusing to dress the part of the bourgeois dandy. From Courbet he also appropriated a deliberately crude manner of painting, “troweling” on paint with a palette knife as if a mason spreading mortar. It was a stylistic homage both strategically provincial and emphatically masculine: the young Cézanne referred to this as his “manière couillard” or “ballsy” style of painting (Gowing, 1988, p. 10). Courbet and his assistants painted up to twenty versions of the Chateau de Chillon on Lake Geneva perhaps because the tale of its most famous resident, the political prisoner, François Bonivard (1530–36) resonated strongly with his own political fate after the heady days of the Paris Commune had passed. Yet the context of tourism cannot be written out, for they were most likely painted to be sold to tourists and were undoubtedly related to Adolf Braun’s well-known photograph of the site. Also relevant to Lake Annecy is Courbet’s last and unfinished Panorama of the Alps with the Dents du Midi (1874–77). Here Courbet mapped out his longing for his home terroir; he would never return to the Franche Comté that lay beyond the uncrossable blue Alps of this painting. Courbet was not incarcerated, nor was Cézanne’s vacation in Talloires a state of exile. Vague whiffs of these two earlier Alpine melodramas may have floated into Cézanne’s choice of motif that occupied him for those weeks spent lakeside. The biographic relationship of Cézanne’s site to his image has lead to some troublesome and overly transparent assumptions about the painting. Françoise Cachin declares that the village of Talloires itself “for all its beauty, is suffocating and airless” (1996, p. 416). In comparison to paintings of the lake by a mid nineteenth-century painter who specialized in views of the region, Firmin Salabert (1811–1895), it is clear that Cézanne’s later landscape was carefully chosen and orchestrated. He had frequently painted wide views of a body of water from above in his many versions of the Bay of Marseilles from the 1870s and 80s. But in this case, the effect of claustrophobia or containment in Lake Annecy was an artistic choice that avoided an elevated line of sight: the tourist viewpoint so often assumed at Talloires. It goes almost without saying that Cézanne is known as a painter of mountains and this painting does accommodate some of the formal concerns played out in the Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings from the mid 1880s (e.g. Rewald, 1996, no. 511). But in images of forest interiors, riverbanks, and stone quarries, works painted within a few years of


High – low

his trip to Talloires (Rewald, 1996, nos. 726, 763– 766), there is a decided preference for low vantage points rather than such a long views into distance. In these late works, instead of lying down gracefully or being passively displayed, landscape often unconventionally looms, spins or morbidly hangs, causing lines of sight to be formally blocked, frustrated, or cancelled out. As in these related works of the 1890s, the composition vignette revolves about a pivot point: in this case the chateau holds the center. Like the contemporary river scenes of his friend Claude Monet, who he had visited at Giverny in 1894, Cézanne here finds interest in a landscape whose unpopulated stillness and meditative calm is that of the very early morning (Callen, 2001). At this time of day, before the sun rises above the mountains that would have been behind the painter on Talloires’ side of the lake, the reflection of the Chateau of Duignt reaches east across the blue expanse of water, magnetically pinning the viewer’s bodily position like the needle of a compass. Rather than merely positioning an eye in the schema of linear perspective, or a hovering consciousness that takes in a panoramic spectacle via aerial perspective, Cézanne seems to constitute a grounded, somatic, bodily experience for his viewer. When the same motif is viewed from a point higher up on the opposing mountain, one can clearly see that the chateau sits on a long peninsula whose submerged tip extends far into the lake; Cézanne’s composition effectively flattens and compresses the far shore, reining it in close to the viewer. He paints in a tree to crop off the mountain range and sky, to achieve an effect of intimate, solitary viewing. In centering his composition on such a recognizable architectural motif, he does not so much perpetuate a picturesque view as impose upon it his own signature aesthetic structure: sanctifying the view as that of an anti-tourist, remaking it as a Cézanne. Although this choice of motif recapitulates a tourist view that has collectively and traditionally been held to be worthy of depiction, Cézanne remakes it as a solitary encounter, asserting the self as the primary viewer who has a genuine, visceral experience of the site (Crouch, 2003). Having done so, the painting is resolved and sold the following year. It is telling that philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1945) chooses this very work to illustrate his notion of Cézanne’s phenomenologically embodied, and highly individualistic struggle with painting his optical sensations. Vacationing at Lake Annecy was but one manifestation of the metropolitan consumption of nature. Resistance to this social context (both by the artist and by those who have constructed the artist’s Provençal, male, modernist mystique) has depended upon the binary division of ‘valid’ high art and ‘spurious’ mass culture, the feminized tourist resisted by the authentic (if unwilling) modernist traveler (Huyssen, 1996, p. 50–53; Buzard, 1993,


p.  80). This is to say that trivializing Cézanne’s travel outside of Provence by deeming it a feminine whim of Hortense and degrading a parvenue French landscape as only suiting the exercise books of young British girls serves to, on the one hand, shore up Cézanne’s loyalty to his home landscape and, on the other, to ratify his masculine, artistic singularity. The former regionalist attitude was fostered by one of Cézanne’s correspondents, cited earlier, who would later be known as his biographer: the Provençal nationalist Joachim Gasquet. In his creatively embellished biography, published in the 1920s, Gasquet makes much of Cézanne’s remarks about Talloires to demonstrate the artist’s nostalgic, melodramatic attachment to the soil of Provence (Gasquet, 1991; Kear, 2002; Sidlauskas, 2004). Construing his short-term tourism as unwilling or accidental and its interactions with place as inauthentic – or compensatory at best – followed both a narrowly nationalist and regionalist urge to root Cézanne in the timeless soil of Provence and a modernist narrative that set his form of vision apart from the rest of us.

High – low

Green, N.: The Spectacle of Nature: Landscape and Bourgeois Culture in Nineteenth Century France. Manchester and New York, Manchester University Press 1990. Herbert, R. L.: Monet on the Normandy Coast: Tourism and Painting, 1867-1886. New Haven/London, Yale University Press 1994. Hirsh, S.: Symbolism and Modern Urban Society. Cambridge, UK/ New York, Cambridge University Press 2004. Huyssen, A.: Mass Culture as Woman: Modernism’s Other, in: After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Bloomington, Indiana UP 1986, p. 44–62. Kallmyer, N.: Cézanne and Provence: The Painter in His Culture. Chicago, University Of Chicago Press 2003. Kear, J.: Le sang Provençal: Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, in: Journal of European Studies 9(32)/2002, p. 135–150. Lippard, L.: On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art, and Place. New York, The New Press 1999. MacCannel, D.: The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York, Schocken Books 1976. Merleau-Ponty, M.: Cézanne’s Doubt [1945], in: Galen Johnson (ed.): The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting. Evanston, Northwestern University Press 1993. Mummery, A. F.: My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus. London, T. Fisher Unwin 1895. Rewald, J. (ed.): Paul Cézanne Letters. New York, Da Capo Press 1976. Rewald, J.: The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: a Catalog Raisonné. New York, Abrams 1996. Sidlauskas, S.: Emotion, Color, Cézanne (The Portraits of Hortense), in: Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 3(2)/2004. Urry, J.: The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies. London/Newbury Park, Sage Publications 1990.

Maura Coughlin born 1967, Associate Professor of Visual Studies,

Department of Literary and Cultural Studies, Bryant University, Smithfield RI, United States. Education: Ph.D. 2001, History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University: M.A. 1994, History of Art, Tufts University; Selected Publications: “Celtic Cultural Politics: Monuments and Mortality in Nineteenth-century Brittany,” essay in: Volume on Mysticism, Myth, and Celtic Nationalism (edited by Shelley Trower) Routledge, forthcoming 2013; “Sites of Absence and Presence: Tourism and the Morbid Material Culture of Death in Brittany,” in the proposed volume: Staging Violent Death: The Dark Performances of Thanatourism (edited by Brigitte Sion), in the series “Enactments,” an imprint of Seagull Press, directed by Richard Schechner, University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies at NYU, forthcoming 2012. “Place Myths of the Breton Landscape,” essay in exhibition catalog: Representing France: Paintings and Photographs, 1839–1875 (edited by April Watson and Simon Kelly), Kansas City, St. Louis Museum of art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum 2013. Abélès, L.: La Province vue par Les Français, in: Ségolène Le Men (ed.): Les Français peints par eux-mêmes: Panorama social du XIXe siècle. Paris, Les Dossiers du Musée d’Orsay 1993. Bermingham, A.: Learning to Draw: Studies in the Cultural History of a Polite and Useful Art. New Haven, Yale University Press 2000. Bernard, P.: Rush to the Alps: the evolution of vacationing in Switzerland. Boulder Colo.: East European Quarterly. New York, Columbia University Press 1978. Buzard, J.: The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature, and the Ways to “Culture,” 1800–1918. Oxford, Clarendon Press 1993. Callen, A.: Technique and Gender: landscape, ideology and the art of Monet in the 1890s, in: Steven Adams & Anna Gruetzner Robins (eds.): Gendering Landscape Art. New Brunswick N.J., Rutgers University Press/Manchester, Manchester University Press 2001. Conisbee, P. & Coutagne, D.: Cézanne in Provence. New Haven, Yale University Press 2006. Crouch, D. & Desforges, L.: The Sensuous in the Tourist Encounter. Tourist Studies 2003. Duffield Harding, J.: Harding’s Sketches at Home and Abroad. London, C. Tilt 1839. Duval, W.: Collecting Postcards in Colour. Poole & Dorset, Blandford Press 1978. Charpentier, H.: Nice et Savoie: sites pittoresques. monuments, description et histoire des départments de la Savoie, de la Haute Savoie et des Alpes Maritimes (ancienne province de Nice) réunis à la France en 1860. Paris, Charpentier 1864. Domosh, M. & Seager, J.: Putting Women in Place: Feminist Geographers Make Sense of the World. New York, Guilford Press 2001. Gasquet, J.: Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne: A Memoir with Conversations. London, Thames and Hudson 1991. Gerson, S.: Parisian Littérateurs, Provincial Journeys and National Unity in France, in: Past & Present 151 (May, 1996), p. 141–173. Gowing, L.: The Early Work of Paul Cézanne. Ed. Mary Anne Stevens Cézanne The Early Years 1859–1872. New York, Abrams 1988.

1 Paul Cézanne, Lac d'Annecy, 1896


High – low


A rt a n d Tou rism C o n t e m p o r a r y A r t i n T o u r i s t i c Spa c e N ik a Spa linger in con v er s at ion w i t h Pe t er Spil l m a n n In the context of the research project Kunst & Tourismus,1 we identified, among other things, different categories of art that play a role in predominantly rural tourist destinations. The formats of “art applications” in touristic spaces are very different and diverse; the boundaries between art, event and marketing are often blurred. Different expectations of actors and their relations among each other – which are at times characterised by reciprocal misunderstandings – make comparisons between various projects initially difficult. Nika Spalinger Yes, in our research, we first looked at what was there. To do so, we had to abandon the classical perspective so that we could really take in a diversity of art forms. We came upon numerous sculpture exhibitions, sculpture or themed pathways which were permanently installed or periodically recurring, made with established artists like in the sculpture exhibitions of Bex2 in Chablais in the canton of Vaud and Môtiers3 in the Val de Travers. Then there were many exhibitions by local artists, these were in part strongly oriented towards handicraft. There are hotels with artworks or rooms designed by artists, hotels by famous architects like the hotel4 by Jean Nouvel in Lucerne or others that are committed to Swiss artists like the Arte Hotel Bregaglia5 in Promontogno or Hotel Teufelhof 6. Of course, we also encountered art in architecture and murals of all sorts – for example, the Culur colour columns by Gottfried Honegger 7 at the city wall in Maloya or the worldwide largest painting Mélisande by Pierre Mettraux at the city wall of Grimsel, which measures 2,750 square metres.8 Peter Spillmann One important category was also events or performances, forms of popular art that in an urban art context have a rather difficult position. Nika Spalinger Yes, examples include the placing of 1,000 ‘trash people’ on the Matterhorn by the German action artist HA Schult in 20039 or the elaborate annual performance of Hannibal on the Rettenbachgletscher near Sölden.10 This mechanical theatre, a co-production of Sölden, Red Bull and Lawine Torrent, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011. 3,000 metres above sea level, all the stops Peter Spillmann

are pulled out: 18 piste bashers as elephants, 120 local skiers as the army, helicopters, jets, parachutists, air acrobats, lighting effects, projections and, of course, a lot of sound. Peter Spillmann One main focus of our research was on artistic or art-like forms of expression and performance techniques in touristic worlds of experience, the respective concepts of art that are used and the different motivations and motives of those involved. We therefore concentrated more on aspects that can be compared independently from formal or context-specific criteria, for example, the specific constellations of actors. What we found particularly striking was the phenomenon of Heinz Julen in Zermatt, where the artistic, creative ambition and the reputation that Julen has in the media as an “odd figure” strongly diverge upon first sight. Nika Spalinger Heinz Julen basically embodies what other artist stars also represent: He is good-looking, charming and trusts himself to do many things. He is an autodidact and his strength lies in his sensitivity to materials and lighting to create atmospherically dense spatial designs and design objects that have an easily comprehensible, theatrical and often almost sacred effect. Sacredness or spirituality is important for the Catholics of the Valais, in their art as well. Thanks to his being locally anchored in Zermatt and thanks to his talent for communication, Julen was able to establish an international network. Above all, what gave rise to talk was the ‘Into-Hotel’,11 a hotel built on a rock in the centre of the village, which he designed in all details commissioned by the USM Haller heir Alexander Schärer, with whom he was befriended at the time. The IntoHotel opened in February 2000, but was closed again just seven weeks later by the client due to money disputes and construction defects. All the fantastic interiors of the artist – like a mobile fireplace – proved to be impractical, they were removed and the hotel was then entirely rebuilt. The scandal at least led to a number of press articles on Julen and to international invitations and commissions as a designer. In the subsequent projects that were more successful, he was given professional advice. By

High – low

the way, Julen has also offered many other artists a platform in his art gallery.12 Artists like Julen, or also Wetz13 and Chantal Michel 14, place great value on winning their audience under their own power and outside of art institutions. Julen can be described as “odd” probably only in regard to his artistic ambitions in the art context. Peter Spillmann A central feature of local art figures seems to be improvisation and tinkering. How can that be situated in the current art landscape? Nika Spalinger I find the term “tinkering” too pejorative. I prefer the word “amateurs”. There are many works by quasi autodidactic artists in the touristic context that are often made better in technical terms than things “deliberately tinkered” in the hip art scene. The difference is that artists who haven’t gone to an art school are not acquainted with the codes that are important for positioning a work in the art context and therefore “tinker” out of conviction and not calculation. But refreshing and original designs are also often created at a distance to the art world. However, the capacity to give not only instinctive but also analytical and theoretical reasons for artistic posits is certainly an advantage for someone wanting to position himself in a more international context. Peter Spillmann A further category of art that we naturally encountered in the touristic context is landmarks or “signal architecture”, meaning unique, conspicuous works or buildings preferably by famous artists or architects. This form of making a cultural investment still appears to be the most reliable strategy to cause a stir in the media, bring oneself up for discussion and generate guests in the long run. Nika Spalinger Tourist destinations are dependent on images that cling to one’s mind. Architecture is likely to be the best at achieving this. While there were hardly any recent artworks in the area we examined that are suitable as postcard motifs – one exception is perhaps the Tinguely Fountain in Basel – there are numerous buildings that have attracted attention, for example, the KKL by Jean Nouvel in Lucerne or the Botta-Bad in Tschuggen/Arosa and, of course, the Monte Rosa Hut near Zermatt. Postcard suitability is the litmus test for architecture and art that also meet the demands of tourism marketing! Peter Spillmann Apparently, it is the local networks of actors that play a pivotal role in initiating and selecting art projects or cultural offerings in a touristic context. What typical actors play

a role and are there relationships between certain formats and the constellation of actors behind them? Nika Spalinger The actors in touristic spaces must be versatile, flexible and inventive in order to attract tourists and fulfil their constantly changing needs. Furthermore, a lot of experience has been gained in staging larger events, especially in winter sports destinations. In contrast to this it is often individual local figures and their personal passion that are decisive in enabling artworks. Be it a local artist like Heinz Julen in Zermatt or a dedicated teacher such as Pierre André Delachaud for the open air exhibition Art en plein air in Môtiers or a hotelier with an affinity for design with a befriended director in Sölden. Larger and unusual projects can also be realised quicker through close local networks, kinship or acquaintances from school days, as well as daily contact, these relationships are customary in a village. Permits are easier to obtain and financing can also be organised faster on a local level, once important individual decision-makers have been convinced of an idea. Peter Spillmann On the other hand, there are also initiatives in the examined rural tourist destinations that definitively have a more professional or long-term ambition. I am thinking, for example, of the Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst Nairs15 in the Lower Engadine or exhibitions like those on the Belalp.16 What is noticeable, though, is that time and again actors from the city play a decisive role, on the one hand, and on the other, that these kinds of projects deliberately address a non-tourist, professional audience or “locals”. Nika Spalinger Projects that also attract attention in the art scene are often initiated from the outside and are therefore interesting from an urban perspective too. But they are in many cases one-off events or at least without a long-term effect. They do attract external visitors, but are often rather poorly anchored locally. The visiting artists and the art audience remain among themselves and the things which are shown as art or culture are frequently ignored by the local population. In contrast, the Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst in Nairs/Scuol is a good example of an initiative that, although it comes from the outside, is now anchored locally. This works because the director, the artist Christoph Rösch, has been integrated there for years and is continually committed to its culture, even though he moved from the city to Sent. The crucial people are often those who


High – low

moved from a rural area to the city and then back again and have acquired the corresponding expertise and relationship networks – they can connect both worlds in a better way. I think that a good mixture of locals, people who have moved there and regular guests is important. Peter Spillmann One example of a “high-culture transfer” from the world market to the region is the Hotel Castell in Zuoz.17 Can good art even be created in the “province” or do we perhaps need other criteria to evaluate regional cultural and artistic practices, criteria that are not necessarily measured by global high-art standards? This was basically one of the propositions of the research project. In which direction could these criteria go? Nika Spalinger This question can perhaps be linked to the question of what makes up good tourism. In “Reiselust”, Christoph Hennig argues that tourism takes on the position that festivities used to. They once structured and enlivened the rhythm of the year and repeatedly offered the opportunity to make extraordinary experiences. This proposition also implies that travelling is usually less about experiencing something new and more about encountering the image, the imagination that precedes any trip in real space. Recognising a familiar image is a central element of tourism! An important criterion for art in a touristic context could therefore be the way in which it relates to the imaginations of the travellers, how it confirms, reinforces or undermines images and to what extent it contributes to enabling or conveying extraordinary experiences. Another important motive in tourism is to perceive one’s own body in a more intensive and conscious way. For some, this is achieved through activities, for others, by relaxing. A further criterion for judging art could therefore be to what degree it contributes to shaping spaces or places in a way that enables or promotes a more conscious and intensive way of dealing with one’s body. A third crucial aspect when going on holidays is the wish to play a different social role than the accustomed one. The corresponding criterion for art could be the extent to which it furthers and enables role-play and encounters of the most various sorts. But these criteria go in the direction of service art and threaten to forfeit the most important potential of art: its autonomy and reflective resistance. So it must always be clarified beforehand out of which self-understanding art is to be created, whether with a more critical and


reflective stance or an uncritical, service providing stance. Peter Spillmann When taking a look at the Upper Engadine region, there are signs of a development that may make any kind of distinction between centre and periphery obsolete. The already mentioned Hotel Castell, the Art Master St. Moritz18 and the allegedly planned think tank of the gallerist Elena Ochoa Foster, the wife of Sir Norman Foster, are just three of numerous projects working with market-compliant concepts of art and huge amounts of money. In the medium term these could turn the Engadine into an Alpine museum island, a form of turbo-culturalisation accompanying the real estate boom and the refeudalisation of the destination of St. Moritz. World-famous art and culture are causing a stir in relevant circles (for example, a long article on the “Art Valley Engadine” was recently published in the New York Times), producing exclusivity and ultimately making the highest prices for the increasingly scarce hotel rooms even appear justified. But in the end, this development is uninteresting in cultural terms because it leads to one only encountering the same articles of the same luxury brands and artworks of the same artists in each of these renowned global locations. Nika Spalinger This is a phenomenon that Boris Groys describes in his article “The city in the age of touristic reproduction” and that is not just limited to cities, as the example proves. Groys describes how cities which are geared towards tourism follow a backward-looking development and how at the same time things, pictures, signs, architecture and design from various cultures move faster and faster globally, faster than the tourists themselves. They thus gain the impression of seeing the same things all over the world and that local peculiarities, differences and identities are disappearing. According to Groys, they are not disappearing, but starting to travel like tourists, rapidly reproducing themselves all over the world following the logic of the global market. Peter Spillmann Okay, that is certainly true on a phenomenological level, when looking at the results of the dynamics of cultural globalisation. Yet I would not speak in favour of a purely local culture or even art. What I instead criticise is the manner in which art is utilised as an argument – perhaps one could even say: as a business model. As opposed to more local initiatives or those supported by artists and cultural workers, or even projects initiated by amateurs. I see no real commitment to culture here, but mainly the interest in gaining a profile.

High – low

At this point the question arises as to the role of artists in the context of the culturalisation processes in the context of tourism. I’m not sure whether a lot of artists are even aware of these processes and to what extent they reflect upon them in their work. That could be listed as a further criterion for interesting art in a touristic context: Whom or what does art represent and in which way? An artwork that treats these themes in a cunning and provocative fashion is the new city symbol of Romanshorn, “MocMoc”, by the artist duo ComCom.19 With their ambivalent artwork, ComCom trigger a lively, participatory process of negotiation in the community of Romanshorn that revolves around the question of the identity, authenticity and marketing of their town. Peter Spillmann An entirely different example of a project that also deals with these questions in a cunning way is the watercolour happening Tux, a project initiated by artists around Christian Stock, that functions according to the “artist in residence” principle. Artists spend up to 14 days in the summer in Hintertux. Amidst the functionless, empty and over-dimensioned infrastructures of a disused winter destination, they explore the cultural circumstances on site in painting, drawing, photography, film or writing. This event is “conceived as a summer retreat exercise for artists who leave their accustomed urban paths behind for a short period of time to continue them artistically in the mountains.”20 The project challenges the usual distinction reflexes of the urban art elites. It incites a serious, analytical way of dealing with the perhaps superficially ugly contradictions of a reality shaped by globalisation and touristic progress. It ironically takes up notions connected to the role that artists already played historically in the invention and development of tourism as producers and conveyers of images of desirable landscapes and locations. Nika Spalinger Touristic space is an interesting space for contemporary artists because it shows many intersections relevant to our understanding of culture, and yet – like art – it is for most people just an extraordinary and temporary arena. What I have in mind are the intersections of imaginary and real spaces, high culture and popular culture, countryside and city, nature and technology, leisure time and work, luxury and precariousness, foreignness and familiarity, tradition and innovation, and so forth. Peter Spillmann Yes, it was also a crucial insight of our research project that touristic space in basically a very contemporary and topical Nika Spalinger

space and precisely for this reason it is an exciting context for current art practices. It can be grasped as a sort of laboratory in which the effects of modernisation and globalisation become particularly evident in the landscape, in space and in architecture, as well as in the specific sociocultural relations of exchange between travellers, hosts and migrant labourers. Nika Spalinger Tourism must always be considered with the fact in mind that more than 50% of the world population now live in cities. The remaining landscapes are “colonised” due to the leisure-time demands of these urbanites and transformed into elaborately designed wellness, water or holiday worlds. The huge amount of labour required behind the scenes to operate these experience worlds and the numerous attendant services are often badly paid and left to migrant workers. A tension in the socio-cultural climate is thus created between tourists, foreign employees and locals. All different artistic approaches and positions are conceivable in regard to this topic. For example, there are projects taking a more ethnographic, observational approach like those of Angela Sanders or Flavia Caviezel,21 who have examined the various service workers connected with global tourism in Engelberg. Or projects with a more participatory approach like the Valais project Heritage revisited/ Patrimoine Revisité,22 where an artistic work is being created together with the village population and their numerous, small, private collections. The exhibition becomes a vehicle for reflecting on the relationship of one’s own culture to the culture of the many Portuguese who are living in the village and who came to Valais as tourist service workers. That could be a further criterion for “good” art in a touristic context: the extent to which it does justice to the complex sociocultural structure of the context. Prof. Nika Spalinger *1958, teacher, researcher Hochschule Luzern – Design & Kunst, main focus on art in public spheres at the intersections of social and artistic interaction, interculture, tourism and religion. Education: Hochschule Luzern – Design & Kunst, HEAD Geneva (1983–1989), PhD programme scenography HDKZ/University of Vienna (2007–2009). Projects: Hochschule Luzern – Design & Kunst: development and direction (2002–2007) pilot class Master of Arts in Fine Arts, Art in Public Spheres (MAPS). Initiation and direction of the projects Kunst & Tourismus (2005), “Holyspace, Holyways”(2008–2012); current publication: “Kunst und Religion im postsäkulären Zeitalter – ein Kritischer Reader” (ed. with Silvia Henke, Isabelle Zürcher), Berlin, Transcript Verlag, 2012. Web: 1 The research project Kunst & Tourismus – Produktions- und

Rezeptionsbedingungen zeitgenössischer Kunst in touristischen Erlebnisräumen took place in 2006/2007 in a cooperation between Hochschule Luzern – Design & Kunst, the Institut für Tourismuswirtschaft (ITW) of the Hochschule Luzern – Wirtschaft and the Institut für Gebäudelehre of the architecture department of the TU Graz.


High – low

2 Bex&Arts, see: (last access:


3 Môtiers, Art en plein air, see:

motiers-2011/geschichte.htm (last access: 06/06/2012).

4 the hotel by Jean Nouvel in Lucerne, see:

deutsch/03_hotel/html/index.htm (last access: 06/06/2012).

5 Arte Hotel Bregaglia, Promontogno, see: http://www.artehotelbre- (last access: 06/06/2012).

6 Hotel Teufelhof, Basel, see:

philosophie.html (last access: 06/06/2012).

7 Colour colums Culur by Gottfried Honegger, see: http://de.wikipedia.

org/wiki/Culur (last access: 06/06/2012).

8 Mélisande by Pierre Mettraux, Grimsel-Staumauer 2007,

see: R%C3%A4terichsbodensee_2008.JPG&filetimestamp= 20080720200058 (last access: 06/06/2012). 9 Trash People by the German action artist HA Schult on the Matterhorn 2003, see: php?myeditid=443&langindex=de (last access: 06/06/2012) 10 Machine Theatre Hannibal on the Rettenbachgletscher near Sölden, see: (last access: 06/06/2012). 11 Into-Hotel by Heinz Julen in Zermatt, see: http://www.heinzjulen. com/aff_produit.php?ref_produit=11&rubrique=1&debut=0&id_ template=A1 (last access: 06/06/2012). 12 Vernissage, Bar, Club, Cinema, Gallery in Zermatt by Heinz Julen, see: (last access: 06/06/2012). 13 Werner Alois Zihlmann alias Wetz, see: Wetz_%28K%C3%BCnstler%29 (last access: 06/06/2012). 14 Chantal Michel, media artist, see: (last access: 06/06/2012). 15 Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst Nairs, see: (last access: 06/06/2012). 16 Beyond the timberline Project on the Belalp by ECAV, see: http:// (last access: 06/06/2012) 17 Hotel Castell in Zuoz, see (last access: 06/06/2012). 18 Art Master St. Moriz, see: and Engadin Art Talks (initiators: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Beatrix Ruf, Christina Bechtler), see: (last access: 06/06/2012). 19 Moc-Moc by Com Com in Romanshorn, see: (last access: 06/06/2012). 20 See: (last access: 07/17/2012). 21 Amazing Europe (2007), a video essay on the Indian longing for “Switzerland” by Angela Sanders, and Mount of India by Flavia Caviezel in the frame of the show Top of Experience at the Kunsthalle Luzern 2008, see: ausstellung.htm (last access: 06/06/2012). 22 Un patrimoine revisité: entre sauvegarde et création documentaire, a research project by Sibylle Omlin, Alain Antille, Leah Anderson, Jean-François Blanc, Samuel Dématraz, Christophe Fellay, Jaouadi Nejib, Paul Walter, Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais, ECAVSierre, see: and (last access: 06/06/2012).


High – Low

Alpine Pop Project Culture of Hybrid Alpine Worlds of Experience by Michael Zinganel This study focuses on the independent art forms or cultural productions with an affinity to art that have emerged directly from the social field of tourist service culture. The example cases are from high Alpine tourist regions catering not to an exclusive target group but to a broad middle class. First I shall discuss specific project cultures based on concrete examples. The success of these – I would argue – is largely dependent on the specific constellation of the actors involved in the project and the relationship between the initiators, the producers and the financers and the audience. In the second section I shall analyse from the outside the pragmatic reactions to the changing demands that prevail in tourist service cultures. They have an impact both on the hybrid character of individual actors and on the forms of cultural productions they create – be it in Alpine pop culture or popular leisure-time architecture, both of which are vital components in the staging and setting of the Alpine experience and of Alpine landscapes. The local entrepreneurs are obligaed to the traditions of their families and village communities and to their guests. Alpine tourist regions are exposed to a competition with non-Alpine destinations not only by the global holiday experiences of the guests but also through the travel experiences of the service providers themselves and their ambition to implement ever-new attractions to highlight their own degree of modernisation. In the third section, I shall use the example of a marketing campaign to show how the increasing self-confidence of the actors really spurs the desire to set signs in a selfdetermined manner. In this way the design elements drawn from a global repertory are arbitrarily combined and brought together uniquely in the high Alpine world of experience. Art production between gestalt therapy and carnivalesque transgression

Since 2001, “Hannibal’s Crossing of the Alps” has been an annual ‘popular play’ marking the end of the winter season. In it 300 persons from the Tyrol tourism community of Sölden in the Ötztal participate alongside professional performers. In a combination of mechanized theatre and rock opera against the impressive backdrop of the Rettenbach Glacier, the crossing of the Alps by the Carthaginian commander Hannibal in 218 BC is re-enacted 3,000 metres above sea level. The project

is a coproduction between the community of Sölden, Red Bull and Lawine Torrèn.1 In an Alpine tourist destination, the mountain lifts are not only the most important employers but are often also the only economically potent institution in a position to realise larger cultural projects. In Sölden in the Ötztal therefore the lead was taken not by the local culture association, but by Jack Falkner, the young director of the Bergbahnen AG. After studying business administration and gaining several years of experience in other firms and after taking over from his father as the manager, Jack wanted to set an example of cultural modernisation by promoting an effective cultural event related to the culture on location that would be significantly distinguishable from the events of competing destinations. In his opinion, Alpine folk music was not up-to-date, serious music if it did not have a cultural base in the village. Live rock concerts were also out of the question, because they were already successfully used for branding by other communities such as Ischgl. He did not commission a professional, non-local music or theatre agency with the concept, but the Söldener ski teacher Ernst Lorenzi, who had previously organised promotionally effective, large-scale sports events in the tourist destination, e.g. the Snowboard Opening, the Alpine Ski World Cup, the Ötztaler bike marathon or a mountain stage of the Deutschland Radrundfahrt. Ernst could therefore fall back on a wide social network of competent event professionals and established, enthusiastic employees from the valley. Via Lorenzi’s excellent relations to the sponsors of his sports events, contact was made with the art scene: Didi Mateschitz, the Salzburg-based co-owner of the Red Bull energy drink, who had made a name for himself through extreme sport sponsoring and reporting, recommended the autodidactic machine and dance theatre director Hubert Lepka, who also lives in Salzburg. The result reflects the social networks and competences of these four main actors: Hannibal’s elephants are played by the piste bashers of the Bergbahnen Sölden, the Carthaginian infantry by ski teachers from the region, the light Roman cavalry by motocross race drivers, gods and demons by paragliders, speed kite fliers and parachutists from the extreme sports club sponsored by Red Bull, and Didi Mateschitz’s good contacts even made the


High – Low

deployment of army helicopters possible. The volunteer fire brigade and the local mountain rescue services created the structures made of snow and illuminated the glacier with pyrotechnics and even triggered dramatic avalanche blasts. Hubert Lepka himself contributed his team of actors, actresses, dancers and media experts. This mass spectacle with countless machines requires an immense effort in terms of technology and logistics, for this reason it is performed only once a year. Because the people involved and the machines would be overtaxed while running the tourist facilities in parallel, rehearsals are hardly possible. To keep control of the dramaturgy on the huge open-air stage of the glacier, the organisers rely on the voice of a narrator, martial music, spectacular effects and large-screen projections. In commercial terms, the costly spectacle was initially a flop. At first, despite enormous production costs and marketing effort the package tours to Sölden made available for the show attracted almost no additional guests – apart from the hundreds of friends and relatives of those involved in the project. Moreover, the established culture scene and the cultural elites in Austria totally ignored the staging for years. Only in 2005 did a first review appear in the arts section of the renowned daily “Der Standard”, in it the great effort was acknowledged, but the dramaturgy and staging was pulled to pieces. Out of purely commercial motives or marketing-technical considerations, the spectacle should have been cancelled after the third attempt. However, the mountain lift companies and Red Bull were able to afford the annual staging and wanted to continue. This tenacity may have stemmed from a desire to respond defiantly to the academic elites, but it also came from an awareness of the actual significance of this event. Above all it offered the local population the possibility to identify themselves with the location and with their own function as service providers. Here, the actors can pull out all the stops of a sports event destination that they have learned to operate during the course of their successful rise from a farming village to a ski and party stronghold. One shouldn’t forget that the staging is the last huge effort on the last day of a tough winter season, which lasts several months. It is the joint festivity marking the end of the season, a carnivalesque excess comparable with a pre-Christian custom in which the last tourists are driven out of the village. In touristic experience landscapes, the forms of cultural expressions that have an affinity to art can be much quieter, though. In August 2005, a severe high water flooded entire parts of the holiday resort Engelberg , destroying shops, restaurants, hotel lobbies and wellness facilities which had in many cases just been installed in their basements. In the end, the Engelberger Aa tore away all access roads to the upper valley. Until an emergency road could be built, the town was cut off from the


outside world for weeks and only accessible by foot or helicopter.


In autumn, the Dorfgemeinschaft Engelberg, an association of committed locals,2 invited all hoteliers, business people, teachers and private persons to create decorations and art from the abundant driftwood for shop windows and entrance halls. This contributed to a sense that they were coping with the difficulties they had experienced together. Driftwood decorations also became the motto of Advent decorations that year. In the end, those who made the most beautiful decorations and sculptures were given awards. What began initially as a gestalt therapy designed to deal with the traumas caused by the natural disaster became a set of identity-forging memory signs for the local population and the regular guests who had shared the grief. At the same time, the driftwood sculptures became a uniform corporate design that was assured of its credibility because of its links to the disaster – authenticated by it, so to speak. From then on, the driftwood sculptures embellished the shop windows and entrance zones of the destination. Engelberg’s dramatic experience with high water is by no means an isolated phenomenon and driftwood sculptures are not unique to this location. Apart from the Alps there are many other communities repeatedly afflicted with flooding, and driftwood sculptures have long become an established sub-theme of advanced hobby art courses. Between other articles in the many-paned shop windows, the works were unable to shed the character that linked them with hobby activities. But in the tidy and spacious hotel lobbies, the driftwood sculptures could take on such impressive dimensions that, in regard to their formal design and staging, they could indeed compete with art installations. In a white cube, the majority of visitors would no longer regard a sparse, abstract circle made solely of driftwood pieces with a diameter of four metres laid out on the floor as an Advent wreath but undoubtedly as a distinctive masterpiece of Land Art or Arte Povera.3

High – Low

Hybrid actors from pop music and Alpine pop tourism

Not only are the constellations of actors and motives in cultural productions created in touristic experience spaces very complex, the individual actors involved are also at times hybrid identities, who in the tourist service trade have learned to react pragmatically to demands from the outside, while at the same time attempting to signify their own identity. The band Die Zillertaler Schürzenjäger, for example, was founded in 1973 by Peter Steinlechner (born 1951), Alfred Eberharter (born 1953) and Willy Kröll (born 1949) from the Zillertal. In 1987, after a 14-year career as a traditional live dance band, the Zillertaler Schürzenjäger had their first hit with a cover version of Ronny’s Sierra Madre del Sur, a romantic pop song in Spanish. Then came Zillertaler Hochzeitsmarsch in 1992, which was defamed by the Tiroler Volksmusikpflege as misuse of the cultural heritage. Their greatest commercial success, however, was the rock album Träume sind stärker with which they toured in 1996. More than 100,000 people came to the final concert of the tour. At this point, professional musicians from Vienna, Munich and Hamburg were already playing with the band. They had come to Tyrol as tourists and stayed there as lifestyle migrants. This open-air concert on a meadow in front of their hometown in the Zillertal was to become an annual pilgrimage site for their fans, a kind of Woodstock of the Alps, at which only one band played a large number of the most various songs.


The choice of the band’s name: Zillertaler Schürzenjäger (the womaniser from the Zillertal) may have been meant in an affirmative way in all respects. In 1973, when the musicians were just over twenty, the pride in their background, the genre and the sex appeal attributed to their identity as musicians. In retrospect, the choice could also be interpreted ironically. When growing up in a formerly rural region, like the Tyrol Alps, which then became increasingly urbanised due to the rapid growth of mass tourism, one is also well aware of the increasing sexualisation of the touristic

production of longing. This not only became a subgenre in the films with a regional background in the 1960s and 70s, but also palpable in the way that everyday business dealt with extraordinary experiences. One is also aware that the sex appeal of the Rolling Stones is incomparably stronger than that of an Alpine folk music combo, if one takes a closer look at the band’s performances, one can see that the Stones are their major role models. We came upon such hybrid identities not only in Alpine pop music, but also in the Alpine hotel industry, which sets up varied and ambiguous signs, not only in their offers of service and thus in their interiors, but also in the outdoor areas in the form of individual buildings and ensembles that through constant annexes and extensions have turned into constructional and urban-building proliferations. In a certain respect, the radically touristified, formerly rural mountain villages of the Tyrol Alps represent other aggregate states of the Zillertaler Schürzenjäger and DJ Ötzis: They are built manifestations of a permanent transformation and modernisation, of continuous tinkering and adaptation to the growing demands of an urban audience on the one hand; and on the other, to the obligation to preserve the family heritage and to address the changing requirement of self-presentation of several generations of the same operating family. In the 1980s, at the latest, when the Alpine holiday regions increasingly lost guests in the summer to the new package flight destinations, it became clear that even in the remotest valleys one was subject to cut-throat global competition. The variegated travel experiences at other destinations exposed the Alpine holiday peripheries to intensified competition not only with inner-Alpine but also with non-Alpine destinations. In face of the necessary “retrofitting” or restructuring of the quality and quantity of the service offers and the building infrastructures required to this end, the operators were now forced to orient themselves towards all potential competitors in a globalising market. They were in competition, not only with the neighbouring village in the next valley, but also with the Seychelles and the Maldives. The Alpine business families therefore also used the times when their establishments were closed for research trips to their Alpine and non-Alpine competitors. They could then put their findings into practice in the short off-seasons by building agglomerations in a step by step series of small conversions. The buildings of those Tyrol entrepreneurial families, who could afford it or appeared sufficiently creditworthy, have now significantly grown: After the rediscovery of the grand hotels, the ever larger volumes of space initially packed under gabled roof landscapes were now supplemented by mansard roofs (under which air conditioning systems could also be hidden) and after the wave of romanticism by small towers that were additionally


High – Low

suitable to camouflage lifts. Indoor swimming pools were replaced by wellness oases or wellness landscapes, the Finnish sauna by the Turkish hammam, rooms were converted to junior suites with designer furniture and open-hearth fireplaces, the chimneys of which now perforate the gigantic Alpine roof landscape. But when the seasoned overall picture of an Alpine rural culture threatened to disappear from the guests’ view due to the sheer size of the buildings, significant signs were lowered to eye-level and thus into the field of vision of the guests. For example, the mighty gables that were now duplicated as projecting roofs of hotels; family crests were mounted on the modern sliding glass doors of the vestibules; authentic Alpine cabins were taken down and their patinated materials now serve as structural elements in hotel lobbies, bars or wellness zones.


The necessary expansion did not only pertain to the hotels but also to the entire experience of the landscape: The Tyrolese have meanwhile become acknowledged specialists who have transformed the mountain sports experience by day and the “rural” après ski experience at night into a hybrid popular culture by means of the most modern leisure-time and entertainment architecturs. Ischgl and Sölden successfully position themselves as the Ibiza, Mallorca or Mykonos of the Alps. Everywhere the experience of the Alpine landscape offers places where the specific threshold situation combines with a critical social density to automatically generate increased attention. The entire mountain and the interactive sports and communication devices become a stage just like the parking area or the queue in front of the lift. Particularly exemplary are the open air discos in front of summit inns or middle stations, where guests are animated to dance in ski shoes on a solidly built bar and often switch to perform a real striptease in a carnivalesque transgression of table dancing. A display of frivolity occurs here that, in the urban context of the source region, is only reserved for “professionals”. With the aid of artificial snowboard landscapes and ephemeral event architectures, the local designers


condense the otherwise spacious sports areas and merge them with party zones, like the legendary “Winter Openings”, for instance. These architectures consist of just a few standardised elements such as scaffoldings, tents, containers, crowd barriers, floodlights, cameras on cranes, inflatable advertising media, temporary stages and stands, as well as mobile latrines, all of which can be erected on short notice almost anywhere and dismantled again just as quickly. This not only enhances the pleasure in sports of those who are active, it also gives the audience a better view. Attention is not drawn one-sidedly to the athletes though – everyone involved is given the stage for self-displaytransmitted live on jumbo screens on site. They function as a kind of mirror of one’s own activities and can in some cases be fed into global media. The arrangement of the structural elements is mainly geared to the requirements of the camerawork and television directorship, the atmosphere on location is correspondingly intensified by sound bites and the lighting design. Pop stars, big names of the scene, VIPs, members of the in-crowd, but also the community appeal of the clubbing culture are all multipliers of the media economy of attention and play a role that is at least as important as that of sports in these staging events. These forms of Alpine culture are by no means limited to the “Musikantenstadl” (folk music event), they span all types of club cultures that are hip in the tourists’ own countries or regions. If the VIPs on one’s own invitation list are identical with the stars of the target groups of a TV station, one hardly needs to worry about circulation in the media anymore – the cameras of the respective TV stations then appear almost automatically. Self-determination and irony

We found hybrid identities not only in Alpine popular music and Alpine tourism architecture, but also in the Alpine hotel industry and in marketing. Günter Aloys, for example, is one of those self-confident and self-determined local actors from the Alpine tourism strongholds who, like DJ Ötzi and the Zillertaler Schürzenjäger, constantly undermine the official marketing concepts of the Landesagentur Tirol-Werbung, whose academic elites would love to strengthen “Tyrol” as a cultural location for high-quality tourism. Günter Aloys spent his childhood on a mountain alp above Ischgl that his parents cultivated, until his father became a mountain lift and tourism pioneer of the village in the 1960s. The family’s first hotel with the village’s first disco is still located right next to the base station. Günter Aloys is familiar with the transformation of his home village from agriculture to tourism, the rise from poverty to prosperity, and also with the crisis since the mid 1980s, when, especially in the summer seasons, the number of overnight stays continued to sink. He felt obliged to act. Ischgl had to be given a new image. In 1995

High – Low

he engaged Sir Elton John for a live concert marking the end of the season 2,500 metres above sea level. 6,000 visitors actually came. It was the encouraging start that transformed the mountain village into an “Ibiza of the Alps”. In 2000 Günter Aloys self-published the guidelines for this approach in a manifesto-like book titled “POP-Tourismus”.4 As a self-proclaimed trend researcher and expert on popular culture, he vehemently advocated offering stages for self-display and the experimentation with different identities, as well as a wide variety of zones for establishing social contacts and bodily self-awareness – from ecstasy to contemplation. He not only addressed a culture of hedonistic partiers but also lonesome urban subjects who needed to be supported in regaining their social and bodily connections. In 2002 he brought off a special coup by engaging the former president of the USA, Bill Clinton, to deliver a lecture titled “Message from the Mountains” to Europe’s youths 2,300 metres above sea level – with a saxophone solo as an encore. Far more sensational, though, was the 2007 product presentation of a new Prosecco marketed by Günter Aloys under the frivolous brand name RICH® in a golden tin, presented by Party-babe Paris Hilton. For this purpose, Hilton, after visiting the Vienna Opera Ball, was flown by helicopter to Ischgl, where she celebrated her birthday party, as commissioned, with the new drink. At first sight, this staging appears as an affirmation of the jet set in St. Moritz. Yet it is simultaneously an ‘ingenious’, ironic comment on the decadence of the superrich that Paris Hilton represents par excellence – and that in Ischgl of all places, a destination that quite to the contrary addresses a broad middle class. On the other hand, Paris Hilton also ranks among those powerful global brands from which others also seek to profit. This is already proved by her obscenely high fee that was deliberately leaked to the media. But the product, RICH® Prosecco in the golden tin, also represents an apparently contradictory hybrid, uniting the appeal of champagne (the status drink of the superrich elites) and that of the Red Bull energy drink (the status beverage of the extreme sports, event and party scene) – and is designed to transfer this appeal to the tourist destination of Ischgl. Through its mere announcement, the provocative campaign prompted the international media to report on it in advance: the majority full of contempt, (at most) with distinctive criticism and (hardly) with enthusiastic approval – but nobody wanted to miss out on the story of the expensive party babe Paris Hilton, the hotelier from Ischgl and his tin can. World class as far as marketing is concerned! Conclusion

From the perspective of the urban art world, for example, that of a professional art, architecture, music or theatre critic – or of an intellectual con-

noisseur – these cultural expressions may appear as tasteless and immoderate gaffes, perfectly suitable for the distinctive self-assurance of one’s own cultural superiority. Examined with the methods of interdisciplinary research on popular culture, cultural semiotics or cultural anthropology, however, they are quite simply wayward and independent productions reflecting the complex social field in which they are produced and received.


In this context, ‘independence’ refers to the growing self-confidence that medium-sized touristic service providers have gained during the rapid push for modernising their destinations. This self-awareness increasingly empowers them to develop projects in a self-determined manner at a distance from the urban art world – and at times also in opposition to it, projects that no longer distinguish between popular and high culture. But these projects – like the touristic production of longing and its fulfilment – are created in the field of tension between the local cultures, that have long been urbanised through touristification, the service cultures of the entrepreneurs and the holiday cultures of the travellers. They are therefore always co-productions by the locals, the service providers and the travellers, in which meaningful self-interests and the anticipation of expectations are weighed against each other. These cultural expressions are naturally oriented towards the heterogeneous market of the guests themselves, who are to contribute to refinancing, but equally towards public promotion programmes or private sponsors. Hence, very ambiguously tinkered productions emerge with a high degree of improvisation that significantly differ from the controlled and disciplined, aesthetic productions of the professional art business. Appropriate critiques of cultural and artistic forms of expression arising in the context of touristic worlds of experience are therefore only possible if they are based on a differentiated examination of the actors behind them, of the persons, committees or organisations that initiate, organise and shape these projects in thematic and formal terms, and at times also make them impossible. Only through an analysis of the different motives and expectations


High – Low


High – Low

Souvenir Jumble and Tourist Kitsch On the Critique of Souvenirs in the 20 th Century

that all these actors associate with ‘their’ project can one recognise which function, effect or meaning specific forms of expression possess in their respective contexts. Michael Zinganel *1960 in Radkersburg, lives as a cultural scholar, architecture theorist, fine artist and curator in Vienna and teaches at the postgraduate college of the Bauhaus Stiftung Dessau. Architecture studies at TU Graz, Fine Arts at the Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht, dissertation in history at the University of Vienna. In 2003 he was Research Fellow at the Internationale Institut für Kulturwissenschaften Wien. Projects, among others, on vacant community facilities in the housing programme of Red Vienna (1995), on the post-war history of anonymous single-family houses in Austria (1998) and diverse formats on the productive force of crime regarding the development of security technology, architecture and urban planning. Since 2005 conferences, exhibitions and exhibition contributions on transnational mobility, mass tourism and migration, among others, with Peter Spillmann and Michael Hieslmair. Publications (selection): “Urlaub nach dem Fall. Transformationen sozialistischer Ferienanlagen” (with Elke Beyer and Anke Hagemann), 2012; “Saison Opening. Kulturtransfer über ostdeutsch-tirolerische Migrationsrouten” (with Hans Albers, Marusa Sagadin, Michael Hieslmair), 2006; “Das Stadion. Geschichte, Architektur, Politik, Ökonomie” (with Matthias Marschik, Rudolf Müllner, Georg Spitaler), 2005; “Backstage*Tours. Reisen in den touristischen Raum” (with Peter Spillmann), 2004.

by Franziska Nyffenegger

1 2 See also the video “Masterminds” produced in 2007/2008 by the

filmmaker Nicole Wangler in collaboration with the research team Kunst & Tourismus and shown for the first time in the above mentioned exhibition. 3 The Dorfgemeinschaft Engelberg was newly founded shortly before the severe weather. Its aim was to strengthen the cohesion in the village and promote activities meant to enrich the communal life of both the locals and the guests, enliven the village centre and make it attractive again. A further aim of the Dorfgemeinschaft is to sharpen the awareness of ‘local’ culture and the ‘more peaceful’ qualities of the village. 4 A mobile by Erika Manetsch that had decorated the entrance ‘Quattro Sport’ in Engelberg and a poster with depictions of further projects resulting from the competition were shown from 04/26 to 05/25/2008 in the exhibition “Top of Experience oder die Kunst der Erlebniswelt” in Kunstpanorama, Kunsthalle Luzern. 5 Günther, Aloys: POP-Tourismus. Tourismus der Zukunft, Prophezeiungen, Impulse und Thesen für das 21. Jahrhundert, Network der Kreativen für Freizeit, Events und Tourismus, Workshop Ischgl 2000.

1 Scene from the “Hannibal” glacier spectacle in Sölden (photo: lawine torren) 2 Zillertaler Schürzenjager at the Open Air 2012 (photo: Heinz Rautmann) 3 Hotel in Hintertux (photo: Martin Fritz) 4 Tyrolean bed and breakfast (source:

Laughing cows, bathing cows, cows sitting, standing and lying, cows in the form of cups, as potholders or kitchen timers, key chains or sofa cushions, candles or toys, cows made of plastic, wood or plush, encircled by edelweiss and Swiss crosses that in turn embellish thermos bottles and T-shirts: The eyes hardly know where to begin – that’s how packed the displays of the souvenir shops are in the city centre of Lucerne. The challenge tourists face is to find a trouvaille; an appropriate souvenir; a tiny keepsake among thousands of objects. Not an easy task, but one that is required, for it belongs to the culture of travelling – and it probably always has – to take things from the culture one has visited back home. Souvenirs count as one of the oldest objects produced in series and large editions. Already in ancient times, souvenir traders are said to have conducted successful business selling miniatures of popular destinations to guests from abroad.1 In the Middle Ages, more than half a million pilgrimage signs, the most important souvenir in those days, were made each year by European manufactories.2 In the Berner Oberland, bourgeois tourism in the second half of the 19th century led to a rapid boom in the carving trade, among others3; during the Belle Époque, around 900 workers were employed in the souvenir industry in Brienz alone.4 Close to 100,000 shops offered souvenirs in Switzerland by the mid 1960s,5 and today, according to estimates, foreign guests spend 67 million Swiss francs on souvenirs each year6. It is a lucrative business, yet one that is repeatedly suspected of betraying Swiss values and Swiss culture. The production and sale of souvenirs clearly meets a demand, it fulfils an obvious need – a predominantly symbolic-communicative need, not a practical-functional one.7 Travellers and in particular tourists need materialisations of their experiences to support their own, unreliable memory as well as gifts for those left behind in daily life.8 After having finally been chosen and purchased, “it [the souvenir] reassures the tourist of his own experience beyond doubt”,9 or, phrased differently: “People yield their powers of memory to souvenirs […].” 10 The materialisation of touristic experience in the souvenir must follow the logic of touristic perception as well as the laws

of the economy. Both lead to (commercial) souvenirs being easily recognisable all over the world: small, reasonably priced objects, often with a tendency towards humour and childishness, even ridiculousness, that symbolically condense the features of the visited destination and whose practical function in most cases seems false or is lacking altogether. It is only when taking a closer look that we can discern the differences between the displays in Lucerne and those of souvenir shops in Paris, London or Dubai. Beyond good taste

What characterises souvenirs is not to everyone’s taste, however; already in early tourism, the souvenir industry came under fire from all sides. Mark Twain, for instance, condescendingly noted: “The commerce of Lucerne consists mainly in gimcrackery of the souvenir sort; the shops are packed with Alpine crystals, photographs of scenery, and wooden and ivory carvings.” 11 At the beginning of the 20th century, the term “Fremdenandenkenkitsch” (tourist souvenir kitsch) established itself to brand the “bad” design of souvenirs – and thus the “bad taste” of sellers and buyers, as well. The art historian Gustav E. Pazaurek introduced it in 1909 in his “Abteilung der Geschmacksverirrungen” (Department of Lapses in Taste) installed at the Stuttgarter Gewerbemuseum; what was meant is “cheap junk for the masses with no regard for an adequate use of material, formal language and decoration.” 12 In Switzerland at the time, the production of souvenirs was deemed one of the “worst subsidiary enterprises of our domestic industries.” 13 The periodical of the Schweizerische Werkbund was of the opinion: “What are generally peddled as tourist articles are from the start a rejection of any kind of artistic feeling.” 14 The stalls of the National Fairs of 1914 and 1939 were consequently curated in order to keep the shelves free of “horrors”; in 1939 a “souvenir pillory” even demonstrated what was improper to the visitors. Between 1914 and 1980, the Heimatschutz and Werkbund, the association Bel Ricordo and later the Heimatwerk and the Verkehrszentrale, supported by the Eidgenössische Departement des Innern (Federal Department of Home Affairs), regularly


High – low

tendered prizes in competitions “so as to obtain artistic souvenirs”.15 The joint battle was against “kitsch” and the “cheapness of taste”.16




But all these interventions were not only about aesthetic education, they also aimed at “giving the world a more pleasurable idea of the Swiss character than the shoddy articles that have been common until now and which one must feel ashamed of.” 17 Souvenirs are also always advertising media, and that is why the fear exists that “disreputable souvenir kitsch” would make a “misleading impression of the cultural standard of the country”,18 give rise to “a dubious judgement of its artistic achieve-


ments” 19 or harm the “good reputation of Swiss design.” 20 The worries about the “artistic” quality of Swiss souvenirs already commenced in the early days of modern tourism. As early as in 1823, the district court of Interlaken demanded that the carvers in Brienz were to be trained by an art teacher, because the serial production of carved souvenirs, the “self-engendered dilettantism” and the “sublime lapse of taste” endangered their value – and thus the reputation of the domestic (arts and) crafts.21 But the first schools in the Haslital founded around the middle of the century had to be closed again due to a lack of interest. Carving was a way of earning one’s living, without artistic ambition; the externally formulated demands were incomprehensible to the carvers, and visiting a school a pure waste of time, since their “bad” products were indeed being successfully and profitably sold.22 In the 20th century, efforts to “renew the souvenir” were not very successful either. One rarely finds an awarded design by a producer; it is usually just the draft, the prototype made for the competition. Manufacturers and trade lack the “courage to create a good form”.23 “Unscrupulous importers of foreign souvenir kitsch” 24 dominate the market, yet “both sides, buyer and seller, are equally responsible for the present state.” 25 What is even worse: The competitors also declare their effort “to invent objects with a souvenir character beyond the well-known formulas shaped by folkloristic traditions.” 26 138 designers participated with 376 drafts in one of the last competitions for applied art organised by the Eidgenössische Kommission; nine met the requirements and were awarded; the majority of submissions, on the other hand, differed “almost not at all from the only too well-known kitsch of the relevant souvenir trade.” 27 In their withering assessment, the critics forget two things: First, that souvenirs are not durables but symbolic objects charged with a lot of emotion that must therefore be evaluated differently. In souvenir shops, “emotionality and not rationality is in demand.” 28 Secondly, that the tourist is usually in a situation in which the rules of everyday life are suspended.29 Holiday travels allow – yes they even demand – spending money on things we would never buy at home.30 The critique of the souvenir thus reflects the critique of tourism: It accuses the tourist of letting him- or herself be deceived, of abandoning himor herself to “false” images, of not wanting to see what is “true” – and, in doing so, the critique forgets that the tourist is not concerned with that issue, but instead seeks the “reality of fiction”.31 This can be produced by a laughing plastic cow made in China just as well as (or even better than) the Swiss design cow costing ten times as much. Franziska Nyffenegger is an ethnologist and works as a lecturer at the Lucerne School of Art and Design and the Zurich University of the Arts. In 2010/11 she directed a KTI research project on the role of souvenirs in destination marketing. Since October 2012, she has been

High – low

doing research together with Dagmar Steffen on the product language of souvenirs in the frame of an SNF project titled “Bildsymbole der Schweiz” (Picture Symbols of Switzerland). The author thanks the caricaturist and object artist H. U. Steger for providing insight into his archive and copies of media reports on the Swiss souvenir competition 1972, as well as Lilian Raselli, director of the Schlossmuseum Thun, for references to literature on carving in Brienz. Baur, Albert: Das Reiseandenken in der Schweiz, in: (Das) Werk 32, 1945 [1914], 142. Bl. Baur, Albert: Der Bazar für Reiseandenken an der Landesausstellung, in: (Das) Werk 1 (6), 1945, p. 21–24. Brock, Bazon & Zika, Anna (eds.): Der Barbar als Kulturheld. Ästhetik des Unterlassens – Kritik der Wahrheit. wie man wird, der man nicht ist. Gesammelte Schriften III, 1991–2002. Cologne, DuMont 2002. Bruckmann’s illustrirte Reiseführer: Rundreisen in der Schweiz einschliesslich der oberitalienischen Seen und Mailand. Mit Illustrationen, Stadtplänen, einer Karte der Schweiz etc. etc. Munich, A. Bruckmann’s Verlag 1896. Bundesamt für Kultur (ed.): Made in Switzerland. Gestaltung. 80 Jahre Förderung durch die Eidgenossenschaft. Zurich, Verlag Hochparterre 1997. Bundesamt für Statistik, Schweizer Tourismus-Verband, GastroSuisse, hotelleriesuisse et al.: Schweizer Tourismus in Zahlen. Ausgabe 2008. Bern, Schweizer Tourismus-Verband 2008. Cattaneo, Claudia; Flagmeier, Renate; Pellin Mario & Volkers, Imke (eds.): Böse Dinge. Positionen des (Un)Geschmacks. Eine Ausstellung des Gewerbemuseum und des Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge, Berlin. Winterthur, Gewerbemuseum 2011. Enzensberger, Hans Magnus: Eine Theorie des Tourismus, in: same (ed.): Einzelheiten I. Bewusstseins-Industrie. Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp 1964 [1958], p. 179–205. ez.: “Faltgenossen” in Variationen. Ideenreichtum gegen Souvenirkitsch. Der Bund, Bern, 11 February, 1973. Gaschen, Elisabeth: Der Souvenirmarkt in der Schweiz. Beitrag zu einem neuzeitlichen Marketing. Matten-Interlaken, Buchdruckerei A. Simmen Söhne 1965. Gordon, Beverly: The Souvenir: Messenger of the Extraordinary, in: Journal of Popular Culture 20 (3), 1986, p. 135–146. Gruppe-Kelpanides, Heidemarie: Holzschnitzen im Berner Oberland. Zur Innovation und Entwicklung eines Gewerbes im 19. Jahrhundert, in: Wolfgang Brückner & Nikolaus Grass (eds.): Jahrbuch für Volkskunde. Würzburg, Innsbruck, Fribourg, Echter Verlag, Verlagsanstalt Tyrolia, Universitätsverlag 1979, p. 7–37. Hennig, Christoph: Reiselust. Touristen, Tourismus und Urlaubskultur. Frankfurt a.M., Suhrkamp 1999 [1997]. Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt (ed.): Der Souvenir. Erinnerung in Dingen von der Reliquie zum Andenken. Frankfurt a.M., Wienand Verlag 2006. o.A.: Souvenirwettbewerb, in: Werk, Bauen + Wohnen 67 (4), 1980, p. 64. Sch., E.: Gute Reiseandenken der “Bel ricordo”, in: (Das) Werk 29 (12), 1942, p. 300–302. Schneider, Ulrich: Strassen des Glaubens. Der Souvenir im Mittelalter, in: Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt (ed.): Der Souvenir. Erinnerung in Dingen von der Reliquie zum Andenken. Frankfurt a.M., Wienand Verlag 2006, p. 60–79. Schweizerische Zentrale für Verkehrsförderung: Das Reiseandenken in der Schweiz. Basel, Gewerbemuseum 1945. su.: Vom Edelweiss zum “Faltgenossen” Neue Schweizer Reiseandenken. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 9 February, 1973. Sykora, Katharina: Souvenir, Souvenir. Ludwig II. von Bayern als Andenken. Querformat 1/2008, p. 78–83. Thommen, Elsbeth: Kein Mut zur guten Form. National-Zeitung, 30 September, 1975. Twain, Mark: A Tramp Abroad. 1990 [1880], online: http://www. (last access: 27/01/2014) Urry, John: The Tourist Gaze. Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies. Second Edition. London, Sage 2008 [2002]. W.R.: Wettbewerb für stadtzürcherische Reiseandenken. (Das) Werk 41, 1954, p. 246–247. Widmayer, Petra: Zwischen Kitsch und Kunsthandwerk – Souvenirs, eine Gestaltungsaufgabe für Designer?, in: Design Zentrum Bremen (ed.):

Die innoventa-Musikanten. Wie die Bremer Stadtmusikanten unter die Designer fielen. Bremen, Worpsweder Verlag 1991, p. 104–108, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Widmayer 1991: 104. Schneider 2006: 76. Cf. Gruppe-Kelpanides 1979. Bruckmann’s illustrirte [sic!] Reiseführer 1896: 292. Gaschen 1965: 11. Bundesamt für Statistik et al. 2008: 8. See, for example, the contributions by Andreas Hillert, by Anna Ananieva and Christiane Holm as well as by Volker Fischer in Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt, 2006. 8 Gordon 1986: 136 ff. 9 Enzensberger 1964: 202. 10 Brock/Zika 2002: 578. 11 Twain. 12 Cattaneo et. al, 2011: 30. 13 Bl. 1914: 21 f. 14 ibid. 15 Bundesamt für Kultur, 1997: 59–87. 16 Schweizerische Zentrale für Verkehrsförderung, 1945: 17. 17 Bl. 1914: 14. 18 Sch., 1942: 302. 19 Baur, 1945. 20 o. A., 1980. 21 Gruppe-Kelpanides, 1979: 26 and 31 ff. 22 ibid. 23 Thommen, 1975. 24 W.R., 1954. 25 su., 1973. 26 ez., 1973. 27 Thommen, 1975. 28 Sykora, 2008: 79. 29 Cf., among others, Urry, 2008. 30 Gordon, 1986: 138. 31 Hennig, 1999: 55.

1 Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks made for Switzerland 2 Display of the souvenir shop Schmid-Linder in Lucerne 3 Display of a watch store in Lucerne (photos: Peter Spillmann)


High – low


On t he Cru x of Histor icism A r c h i t e ct u r e a s a M a ss Mediu m in T ou r ism Sta n isl au s von Moos in con v er s at ion w i t h Pe t er Spil l m a n n The question of staging appears to have been of great importance in the architecture of tourism from the very start. The grand hotel at the end of the 19th century with its park, its promenade, its resort pavilion – that was always a kind of self-contained experience park in the middle of the landscape, where guests lingered and enjoyed themselves and the panorama. Stanislaus von Moos Was it really the case that hostelries or inns always communicated a surplus of experience in their imagery already? – Let’s take the spa hotel of the early 19th century with which, at least in Switzerland, the history of the modern hotel business began. They were very plain, classicistic facilities with rooms where one bathed during the day and in the evening perhaps enjoyed a more or less tasteful dinner. The architecture did make a claim to status; the thematisation and spectacularisation of the hotel as a glammed-up pseudo-aristocratic residence was added only in the second half of the 19th century. That was probably mainly to do with the multiplication and differentiation of offers and the necessity of the numerous establishments to set themselves apart from each other. Peter Spillmann Tourist experts date the beginning of tourism precisely in this period. The early travels of the nobility, including spa tourism, pilgrimages and trade travels, are seen as precursors, but were not yet called tourism. The emergence of larger hotels therefore also marks the beginning of modern bourgeois tourism. Stanislaus von Moos The fact that a minimal stock of formal furnishing possibilities was massively expanded for a different clientele at a certain point in time is not specific of the 19th century and certainly not to tourism. Just think of the Venetian villa in the 15th and 16th century. In a rural environment, where there were originally only agricultural utility buildings and modest peasant dwellings as well as isolated residences of noble landowners, a new architectural genre suddenly emerged: the “villa”, which then became famous as a type thanks to Palladio and others. What triggered this was, of course, not tourism but the early capitalist cultivation of the region’s Peter Spillmann

agricultural potential by a new, halfbourgeois, half-aristocratic class of urbanites. As a partial transplantation of an urban way of life to the countryside, this development can be compared partly, at least in a sociological respect, to the emergence of hotels in the 19th century. Peter Spillmann What status does architecture in a touristic context have within the general history of architecture? Is it regarded as an exceptional manifestation or is the architecture that was built for tourism significant for other architectural genres? Stanislaus von Moos Tourism architecture, at least in the 20th century, was at first deemed unrefined. It had (and has?), in Switzerland at any rate, the reputation of “projecting a false image” in a slightly distasteful way. During the Second World War, there was an initiative by the federal government to redevelop the spa towns. The Landi director Armin Meili was appointed by the Swiss Federal Council to plan a large-scale operation – which naturally was to do with the government’s strategies to create jobs – dedicated to maintaining and redeveloping the tourist spa towns. At the time, the “palace hotel” was regarded as degenerate. Small towers were removed and commodes and credenzas were taken out of the interiors. One was of the opinion that once these external signs of so-called bad taste were gone, at least a level of decency would be re-established from which one could again talk about aesthetic quality. In Switzerland, Peter Meyer was a particularly eloquent ideologue of these cleansing efforts – the fact that he simultaneously knew how to sharp-wittedly shed light on the hotel industry of the time makes his texts worth reading even today. This malaise regarding the palace hotel influenced not only art history for decades to come, but also monument preservation as it was practiced, for example, by the Gesellschaft der schweizerischen Kunstgeschichte (The Society for Art History in Switzerland). Yet there was a fundamental change of attitude precisely in this regard in the 1970s and 80s. It was the time when the twelve-volume INSA (Inventar der Neueren

High – low

Schweizer Architektur/Inventory of New Swiss Architecture) was being published. What counted now was no longer “good” or “bad” but historical significance, independent of the “values” it transported. One can quite precisely determine the change in perception of hotel architecture in Switzerland, among others. In the Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte (Swiss Art History) by Gantner/Reinle; an endeavour of the 1950s and 60s, there was still the tendency to understand the grand hotels as decadent phenomena. In the INSA, on the other hand, they are already upgraded to absolute dainties. Peter Spillmann The architectural counterpart to the grand hotel palace would be the Swiss house (Schweizerhaus), an attempt to use the local a form, as it were. The Swiss house is older than its tradition, but it became very popular at about the same time, in the mid 19th century, as an attempt to put an authentic complexion on the local, Alpine and Swiss, something which is naturally just as constructed as the palace hotel. These two types of buildings basically face each other in an interesting way as far as cultural history is concerned, especially if one considers the development of the Swiss house to the chalet and then to the jumbo-chalet of the 1970s. Stanislaus von Moos Like the palace hotel, the chalet is by no means a Swiss invention. The first models of the Swiss house could be found abroad. The idea of the Swiss house came up architecturally for the first time in Baden-Wuerttemberg in the 18th century and then in Berlin in the early 19th century. Later, it entered into the treatise literature of the early 19th century in France. Switzerland discovered much later that it could be used for identity politics in the frame of the World Fairs. With the “Village suisse” at the1896 Geneva Country Fair, as one of the latest examples, and the even more ambitious one at the World Fair in Paris in 1900, this cliché of the Swiss chalet became established worldwide as a Swiss export product. Individual regions in Switzerland even institutionalised the chalet as the only tolerable model of settlement development. Perhaps it was not the worst of all conceivable possibilities to discipline the impending uncontrolled growth implied by our notion of the right to property. Peter Spillmann The reason why regions such as the Berner Oberland decided early on to say that only houses with a chalet-like appearance are allowed may have been to do with the awareness of the significance of staging in

tourism. There are similar tendencies in the Engadin regarding the type of the “sgraffito-decorated stone house”. In this case, the variability is even a bit greater than with the chalet, but there is the attempt to enforce a kind of typical local appearance by means of legal framework conditions. Stanislaus von Moos In Switzerland, this homeland-protection historicism survives at best only in local building regulations. But even there it is quite perforated. One of the reasons is that people who “understand something about building”, namely the architects, do not really advocate such building regulations. To build a chalet or an Engadin house counted and counts as an imposition in the eyes of a “serious” architect. I believe that is almost a bit specific to the situation in Switzerland – up until the 1970s: Something like “New Urbanism”, meaning urban development programmatically taking up traditional settlement patterns, as it was still a matter of course in the garden-city movement of the early 20th century, simply did and does not have a majority appeal among architects trained along the lines of architectural modernism. Peter Spillmann There are repeatedly new attempts – particularly in tourist regions seeking to address a target audience that appreciates good architecture and local values – to reconcile modernism at least with typical local materials and construction methods, as, for example, Gion A. Caminada is doing in Vrin or various architects in the Vorarlberg, which has meanwhile attracted attention as a centre for a locally reflected, modern architecture. Stanislaus von Moos The example of Gion Caminada proves that regionalism and modernism do not exclude each other today. They have common roots in the Arts and Crafts Movement. In this context, one should also mention Rudolf Olgiati, by the way. And yet: High-quality architecture as it was realised by Olgiati in the 1960s and is being realised today by Caminada is inevitably the exception proving the rule. The rule today in the agglomeration of Switzerland is the jumble, the settlement pulp. Architects believe one can “calm down” the situation by obliging “everyday architecture” to a compromise between minimal aesthetic rules and fairly high-grade materials. That may be expedient in urbanised areas – except that what is then built is only rarely a Caminada building. In the jumble valley partially damaged by tourism, rural fringe zones in Central Switzerland, in Valais


High – low

etc., the traditionalism of the gastronomy architecture of yesteryear is in fact just about the only ordering factor in terms of design. Why not try and latch onto this? I am still waiting for the courageous architect who dares to build with historical clichés and who does not give up the claim to architectural quality. Peter Spillmann What is really popular in present-day mass tourism is an entirely different type of architecture. What I have in mind are the mises-en-scènes of Las Vegas, The Venetian, where the building becomes an assemblage of signs and images for the purpose of entertainment, with the Doge’s Palace, the Campanile of San Marco and the Rialto Bridge skilfully arranged as a shopping mall. The serious discourse on architecture has difficulties to correctly assess and appreciate these kinds of developments even today. Stanislaus von Moos Yes, of course, that is the absolute litmus test, the “Venetians” in Las Vegas or also in Macao. The serious architect not only has difficulties with all of that, he finds it scandalous. Something like that should not exist. And yet: To transport an object or a building as a symbolic reconstruction to a place where it can be consumed as an experience by many people, for whom a trip to the “original site” is not possible for topographical or financial reasons, is a method that has been practiced time and again ever since the days of Emperor Hadrian and throughout the Middle Ages and, of course, extensively during the Renaissance and Baroque period. The Villa Adriana in Tivoli, the Baroque Loreto chapels, the Sacri Monti of the Counter-Reformation, the landscape gardens of the Enlightenment: they are not only the prehistory of Disneyland but also the prehistory of today’s casino paradises dedicated to the theme of Venice – of which there are now a large amount. As cultural artefacts, these “Venetians” are, of course, extreme in comparison to this tradition. They are outrageous for one’s good taste! It is obvious that there is not yet the architecture critic who would get involved in determining levels of quality that distinguish one “Venetian” from the other. If one goes not too far back in the history of modern architecture and compares such a project with urban development utopias as they were developed by Le Corbusier in the 1920s and 30s, one can come upon surprising analogies. The “Venice reconstruction” that you just described is only one part of the “Venetian”. The users of the historical fake live


in a high-rise. And its design could be directly borrowed from a Corbusier project from the 1930s. Especially for Le Corbusier, the combination of “functionalistic” residential high-rises and the historical city centre was a basic urban developmental pattern. In some of his drafts, the city centre serves shopping, the residential buildings are for living (at the time he did not yet think of the casino as an attraction and generator of tax revenue). One could argue this when Corbusier draws Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Place Vendôme in his Plan Voisin, they are after all parts of a real city. And yet these parts just barely survive here as tourist attractions, as a scenery. And the same now applies more and more to real Venice. When architects react with indignation to Las Vegas it also indicates, in a certain respect, that they do not know in which tradition of their own, regarding the thinking and conceptualisation of cities, they stand. Peter Spillmann In cultural studies, the term metatourist is used to describe the phenomenon that recognising and seeing through the misesen-scène now actually belongs to one of the biggest tourist attractions. First of all, in the context of tourist stagings, there is always the reflex to say that everything is artificial and a fake, that it is not an authentic experience and one does not learn anything about the local peculiarities. But the pleasure taken in the illusion and in recognising how skilfully or amateurishly it is created, is a very real joy at every moment. A totally different example of a perfect touristic staging is perhaps the South Sea paradise, the bungalow resort in the middle of a seemingly untouched lagoon, where one sits in a hotel room disguised as a straw hut and are served “freshly caught” specialities each evening that were delivered by freight ships for deep-frozen goods from thousands of kilometres away. Stanislaus von Moos … or the Universal Studios, which naturally people also visit to see through the tricks that were so fascinating in the film. Maybe the paradox lies in the fact that the same observer, who sees through the palm-leaf-covered South Sea hut as false and not authentic and for this reason likes it, is willing to accept a contemporary building, which for example imitates a 1920s Corbusier villa, as high-quality architecture. Peter Spillmann In tourism this problem attains a further dimension. Where experience is the actual product that is marketed and for which I pay money, distinction and alleged good taste also become relevant to pricing. The South Sea bungalow citing the Le Corbusier villa can

High – low

quickly cost considerably more than the same bungalow with the culturally less ambitious look of a hut built on stilts. Stanislaus von Moos The question is actually what that means to someone who is confronted with the task of building good architecture in this field. Peter Spillmann In the final analysis, that’s an ethical question. Stanislaus von Moos Exactly. How does one deal with such a task? – Perhaps the impression is deceiving: It appears to me that the leading architects, particularly in Switzerland, tend to think that where historical references are explicitly needed, where historical facts are to be “reconstructed”, the codex of serious building culture is violated. Doesn’t quality have to be defined in a more precise and complex way than is common among architects? What does quality mean in a situation in which the need for commerce that has to be fulfilled now and in the short term is just as legitimate as the claim to duration in the frame of the topographically and also culturally defined identity of a location? What is at issue is to create a synthesis between commercial exploitability, which the system also commissions, and the claim of establishing a cultural value that can be understood as such in the long term. That succeeded with the palace hotels of the 19th century, and I also mean precisely those that were built in cities. The palace hotels of Lucerne, for instance, are certainly examples of a frivolous dealing with the sign language of an aristocratic lifestyle favoured by the nouveau riche bourgeoisie at the time. In the mid 20th century this then became very suspicious and was condemned. Yet when strolling across the quay of Lucerne sixty years later, one can only be astonished by the surplus value in terms of urban development that was created there – regardless of what the commercial ambitions may have been at the time and what exactly takes place in the hotels today. To provide so and so many square metres for so and so many people – and in a form of urban planning that can claim a right to exist for decades – is indeed an achievement. That ought to be possible in another epoch as well. Stanislaus von Moos is an art historian and architecture

theorist who studied with Sigfried Giedion. After initial lectureships in Harvard, Bern and New York, he received a professorship at the TU Delft and in 1983 the newly created chair for modern and contemporary art in Zurich, where he taught until he retired from his professorship in 2005. Afterwards he lectured in Mendrisio and currently in Yale. In 1997 he was Jean Labatut Visiting Professor in Princeton. In 1968 he published “Le Corbusier – Elemente

einer Synthese”, a standard work on the urban planner and painter that was later also translated into English. In 1971 he founded the still existing specialist periodical “Archithese”. Further publications on the American architect Robert Venturi, the Country Fair 1939 and Expo 02. In 2004 “Nicht Disneyland” was published, a collection of essays on 20th-century Swiss architecture and art.




The series of standalone, coloured images make a visual contribution to the theme. The Photographer Goran Galic´ adopted his own approach to the culture of tourism when taking snapshots of a range of tourist hotspots for this publication. The selected images show scenes and situations from Engelberg, St. Moritz, Zuoz and Berlin. Goran Galić is an artist and photographer.

From 2000 to 2005 he studied Photography studies at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Goran Galic´ has been in an artistic partnership with Gian-Reto Gredig (*1976 in Chur) since 2002. They both live and work in Zurich. Solo exhibitions (selection): The Long Take, Substitut, Berlin (2012); Photographers in Conflict, Forum für Fotografie, Cologne (2009); Vektor, Coalmine Fotogalerie, Winterthur (2009). Group exhibitions (selection): Antiphotojournalism, FOAM, Amsterdam (2011); Image Mouvement, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; City of Zurich workshop and studio bursary; 8th International Photography Triennial, Esslingen; Swiss Art Awards, Basel (2010); Kasseler Dokfest – Monitoring, Kassel; Fotografia Europea, Palazzo delle Notarie, Reggio Emilia; Printed Matter, Fotomuseum Winterthur collection, Winterthur (2009); Shifting Identities, Kunsthaus, Zurich (2008).


Peter Spillmann CONTRIBUTORS

Jochen Becker, Maura Coughlin, Sybille Frank, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Elke Krasny, Angela Sanders, Reto Stäheli, Marion von Osten, Michael Zinganel CONVERSATIONS WITH

Barbara Emmenegger, Walter Leimgruber, Nika Spalinger, Stanislaus von Moos STYLISTIC PROOFREADING



Karl Hoffmann, Berlin PROOFREADING

Zoë Dowlen, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts Graphic CONCEPT

© C2F Cybu Richli & Fabienne Burri, Lucerne



Since 2007, the specific cultural characteristics and conditions of touristic areas and their cultural effects have been a focus of the research conducted by the Competence Center Art in Public Spheres of the Lucerne School of Art and Design. This publication is, amongst other things, the result of two research projects and several events that have taken place in this context in recent years, including a DORE-financed art research project (“Art and Tourism – production and reception conditions of contemporary art in touristic areas”) and an international conference (“Top of Experience – the art of doing business in touristic areas”) held in Lucerne in 2007.

Markus Odermatt Mühlebach

For more information visit: design-kunst/d-forschung-entwicklung/ d-kunst_und_oeffentlichkeit.htm

Cover pages feature photographs by Goran Galic´ The work including all its parts is copyright protected. Any use beyond the strict limits of copyright law without permission of the publisher is prohibited and punishable by law. This applies in particular to duplication, translation, microfilming and/or storage and processing of data in electronic systems. Bibliographical information from the German Library: The German Library lists this publication in the German National Bibliography; detailed bibliographic information is available online at © 2012 interact Verlag, Lucerne Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts ISBN 978-3-906036-06-9 We are grateful to the “zeugindesign Foundation”, Lucerne for its support.

No. 2 Destination Culture  
No. 2 Destination Culture