Pagina in italiano

Binaural Views of Switzerland 

On the traces of William England’s 1863 photographic journey through Switzerland: an audio-visual exhibition.

Binaural Views of Switzerland is an audio-visual observation of the changes caused by human activity in the Swiss Landscape since 1863, when the pioneering British photographer William England made his Grand Tour of Switzerland, creating stunning stereoscopic photographs of over 150 locations.
Artist Alan Alpenfelt, over a two month journey, has re-discovered 30 of these locations, documenting the changes in their aspects and atmospheres, re-presenting them in his exhibition, using binaural sound recording and 3D photography.
His work highlights the stark contrasts between past and present by immersing the visitor in the sights and sounds of each environment, then and now.
The centre of the exhibition is a Kaiser Panorama, which features the stereoscopic photographs linked to headphones through which the visitor can choose between the contrasting binaural soundscapes of the present day or the imagined ones of the past.
Awareness of the effects of mass tourism, modern transport, climate change and industrial development pervades the exhibition, stimulating questions as to how resilience and conservation can somehow still be achieved.

Recording soundscapes

Listening to reality through the amplification of a microphone is like secretly entering the fabric of the world. It’s like drifting with your ears inside a dense matter, leaving your face out to breathe. It’s spying without malice. It’s hearing a truth now, while perceiving the effects of things that happened a few hours earlier, a few weeks earlier, a few years earlier. It’s like listening to the relationship of the human being with his/her world; perceiving, perhaps, a communication between a mother and her children, where she is speaking in Spanish and they in Swiss German, sometimes changing the language in the same sentence, thus capturing by chance the result of an integration into a new territory. It’s catching the fleeting moment when a leaf touches the ground. It’s the clanging of cow bells woven with the cries of playful children, creating a sound substratum of the Alps; or that of a powerful mountain waterfall mingled into the roar of a military jet. In an unrestricted state of freedom in which things can flow, sounds move, influencing each other as if in an endless dance.

Contact: info [at] vxxzweetz [dot] com

Special thanks to
Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera italiana for providing the space, The London Stereoscopic Company and Peter Blair for providing information on William England, to all the tourist agencies who helped Alan find the exact spots.
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