Alps Art Academy

Viele von ihnen weinten (many of them cried)

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Viele von ihnen weinten (many of them cried)

Christoph Solstreif-Pirker

Tomülpass, Safiental

Reformierte Kirche, Tenna – GPS: 46.747455, 9.340189

Vielen von ihnen weinten (Many of them cried) is an artistic research project that deals with the history of Polish internees in Switzerland during the Second World War. During their stay in Switzerland, the internees lived outside the villages in isolated internment camps and, for a low wage and with considerable restrictions, were used, among other things, to build roads and trails. The trail from Turrahus to the Tomülpass, at the end of the Safiental, is a silent testimony of these people’s labor. The project aims to make their traumatized voices audible and bring them to “the center of the universe” – the church of Tenna. As part of an investigative performance, stones along the path were carefully unearthed, brought into the village, and placed on the church organ’s keyboard. A sound became audible for the first time that spoke of tears and grief, but also of hope and humanity. This sound was first performed on 1 October 2020 from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. and can no longer be perceived. However, the project was documented and still manifests through four holes along the trail to the Tomülpass.

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Performance, 240 minutes
4 Videos, 5’06’’ / 2’32’’ / 2’48’’ / 3’08’’

Sound installation for organ, 4 stones, towels and player, 90 minutes
4 Videos, 18’34’’ / 14’12’’ / 12’42’’ / 16’27’’


Christoph Solstreif-Pirker is an architect and poly-disciplinamorous researcher crossing cultural studies, political ecology and spatial theory, and a practicing artist working on performance, painting, drawing, music, and text. He is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Architecture and Landscape at the Graz University of Technology, Austria, and Post-Graduate Researcher at the Global Center for Advanced Studies – GCAS College, Dublin. Christoph completed his Ph.D. in artistic research and contemporary art under the supervision of Milica Tomić and Henk Slager. His research interests include (post-)anthropocenic subjectivity, trauma, political ecology, performative research, non-philosophy, ecofeminism, copoiesis, psychoanalysis, continental philosophy, art theory, and their connection to architecture and the wider planetary space. His work has appeared in publications including GAM – Graz Architecture Magazine, Ruukku: Studies in Artistic Research, and JAR: Journal for Artistic Research.