On potentialities / reservoirs

Annina Boogen

For my contribution I have chosen the example of CSCS in Lugano.
It plays an important role in the research work for the Collegium Helveticum.

In the 1940s, Swiss electricity producers planned a large-scale hydropower project in the Urseren valley. The dam would have flooded the valley up to the height of 1630 meter above sea level – the three villages Andermatt, Realp and Hospental would have submerged in the reservoir. On February 19, 1946, villagers escorted a responsible engineer involuntarily out of the valley over the Devil's Bridge to Göschenen. This is known as the «Riot Night of Andermatt». Among other things, this brought the hydropower project to an end.

Electricity per se is invisible and thus cannot be experienced, but its production has material echoes in our landscapes. To gain engagement for an energy transition and renewable energy plants in alpine regions, perception of these structures must be rendered tangible and energy futures must be re-imagined beyond what is currently understood as possible. This calls for embodied, affective and aesthetic practices and methods.

«On potentialities / reservoirs» uses auditory speculative storytelling to create a realm of past and future possibilities alongside the present reality. One of the anthropological purposes for storytelling is «mental rehearsal», thus can practicing imagining past possibilities be of use for imagining future potentialities?

Do it yourself

The soundwalk can be revisited anytime using the instructions and the map below.

1 – take the train to Realp

2 – at the train station follow the white signs «Rundweg Bannwald»

3 – once you are at «Häräbärtli» (the small hill with the Swiss flag), take the small track at the right edge of the golf course.

4 – check the map below: once you are at the location indicated with «track 1», start the soundwalk there by taking out your mobile phone and headphones, next go to https://anninaboogen.bandcamp.com/album/on-potentialities-reservoirs and start track 1.

5 – start walking the indicated path.

6 – stop again at the location denoted as «track 2» on the map below.

7 – start track 2 and sit down to listen to it.

8 – once you finish track 2, walk down to Realp.

Photo Credit: Annina Bogen

Annina studied Environmental Sciences (BSc ETH) and Energy Sciences (MSc ETH) and currently works as an environmental economist at ETH Zurich and at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). Between 2017 and 2020, she studied part-time in the MA «Transdisciplinary studies in and with the Arts» at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). In her transdisciplinary master project (OPERATION BETON) she investigated the sensory perception of dams in alpine landscapes using a performative approach. Since the end of 2020, she is also an Associate Researcher at the Uri Institute «Cultures of the Alps». www.anninaboogen.ch