Bernese Alps

THE VIOLENCE OF TOURISM AND INTERACTING SOUND DIMENSIONS IN A VERTICAL LANDSCAPE (BERNESE OBERLAND)

The Swiss high Alpine region of the Bernese Oberland has been a hot spot of international tourism since the start of tourism in the 19th century. Accordingly, it is strongly shaped by a tight intersection of natural, rural and modern, strongly tourism-influenced sound clusters. Regarding geological parameters, the region’s soundscape is characterized by extremes. This includes the transmission of sound in the very tight and steep Lauterbrunnental, a trough valley, besides the glaciers of the nearby massif of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, with related sounds like glacial avalanches and waterfalls like the Trümmelbachfälle. The region’s soundscape has been further significantly shaped by international tourist activities. This includes background music, vocallinguistic  layers, as well as technology – the latter being apparent in the sound of helicopters. How far does this situation reflect a further side of what Steve Goodman called the “acoustic violence of vibration”? Focusing on the Lauterbrunnental and the Kleine Scheidegg area, this subproject investigates the predominant natural keynote sounds of that area and their interconnection with human sounds. Furthermore, it also investigates the experience of this sound environment by the local population and tourists, yet also points of conflict and discourses regarding cultural and environmental sustainability.

 

Research conducted by Prof. Dr. Britta Sweers