The Alpenrhein is where the Rhine originates, high up in the Swiss alps. An almost untouched piece of nature that meanders through the mountains. It’s the region that is the toughest to manage. Humans have to deal with steep mountain cliffs, almost impenetrable surfaces and fast flowing streams that lead the river to the Bodensee. After that it continues through Germany. From the first dirt roads up in the mountains to the main roads in the Chur the infrastructure follows an almost identical way of making it’s way through the valleys; meandering up and down a cliffside.
The landscape around the Alpenrhein shows a variety of human ingenuity. Roads that lead up the mountain in a winding pattern, several bridges spanning the gorges and settlements covering the banks of the river. Here humanity is at the mercy of nature, trying to work with whatever it throws at it.
The Rhine. A Biography of a European River
The Rhine is one of the world’s busiest waterways. Frontier and nexus in equal measure for thousand of years, carrying not only people, mineral resources and building materials, but also luxury goods and art treasures, weapons, ideas, fairy tales and myths along it’s fast flowing water through half of Europe. Along its banks you’ll find imposing cities, monasteries and cathedrals as well as conurbations and industrial zones.
Geological developments and human interventions have dramatically changed the course of the Rhine. For centuries, the river was tamed to guard against flooding and to facilitate shipping, it has been regulated, straightened, polluted, fought over, conquered and occupied.
The project started out as search for a new landscape other than the Dutch one, but quickly turned into a fascination for rivers; a soothing and calming stream of water that can turn into a ferocious and deadly force of nature in a blink of an eye. Following the course of the Rhine from its sources to the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta, it looks at cities, sites and regions along the river to shed light on many settlements along the banks of the Rhine that mark the territories that humankind has “conquered”.