In “At the very top“, visitors take in stories with all of their senses. Stories about people who moved from here out into the world. About those who have come from far to discovered the village in the valley. Is Galtür the beginning, the middle or the end of the world? It depends on who you ask. Depending on how they look at it, their view of the world either opens outward or it focuses inward. Holzer Kobler Architekturen tell these stories through images, sounds and animated transformations. Visitors to “At the very top” are invited to join an exciting journey into the valley, up to the mountains and to remote countries and times gone by.
This room has no beginning and no end. This is where visitors discover Galtür’s history following illuminated ropes. Mountains formed, rising out of the sea, and became a place for the Walser to live and settle. Time and again, people have followed the call of the world – and necessity – as pilgrims, soldiers, Swabian children and smugglers; finally, tourism has brought the world to Galtür. The village showed itself to be the most self-willed holiday village in the 1990s. This determination was also the driving force behind the fight against building activities in the glacier area and the rejection of mass tourism. Instead, the glacier can be called here. Calling the Glacier is an art project by Kalle Laar. The Vernagtferner Glacier in the Ötztal Alps provides live information about its condition.
In Galtür, knowledge of the special nature of this Alpine plant lives on. Gentian has been dug in Galtür since time immemorial. Some families even made a living from distilling and selling schnapps. There is specific mention of the right to dig gentian roots in the Alpe Tschiffanella (Großvermunt) in a lease agreement from 1705. In 1992, the municipality of Galtür had to go to the Higher Administrative Court to continue this tradition. Knowledge of the locations, harvesting and processing of spotted gentian (gentiana punctata) has been on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage since November 2013.
In search ... of work, adventure, traces of ancestors and good ideas. There were always reasons for leaving the village, the valley – and returning. Such as Maurice Mattlé, whose granddaughter recorded the journey of her 90-year-old grandfather, who lived in Paris, to the family’s roots in Galtür. In the early 20th century, Albert Lorenz joined two Caucuses expeditions as a mountain guide. Why is Galtür, alongside Paris, Berlin and Antarctica, mentioned on Wilhelm “Bill” Lang’s gravestone in Stromboli? The Sphere of Influence exhibits memories, as well as odd and interesting facts.
The Atmosphere represents the world as a guest in Galtür. As sophisticated hotels on the one hand, and traditional inns on the other, the two hotels Fluchthorn and Rössle are the setting for these encounters between town and village, outside and inside. Here, you learn that Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger enjoyed taking in the Galtür air. Or you can learn about the long-standing friendship between Galtür and the Ohata family who lives in Tokyo. Individual biographies reveal family fates, as well as great world histories.
The travel and mountain painter Maria Peters from Innsbruck was in Galtür for 3 weeks during the spring of 2013. Not in the hotel, but in a tent, she disembarked in the historical Jamtal and painted the "Blue Silvretta" on site. This sphere is an account of the history and outcome of this silent adventure. (www.maria-peters.at)
The probability cloud Orbital also deals with what is above and below. Before being surveyed and commercialised, the world had to first be ascended and conquered. Mountaineers such as the Swiss Johann Jakob Weilemann not only climbed to spectacular peaks (Fluchthorn in 1861, Piz Buin in 1865) but they also attracted more and more new visitors to the mountains with thrilling descriptions of their adventures. The big, wide world blew into a valley where people were still living a life based on a traditional image of home, and life-threatening snow-depths were overcome through a belief in God and in wooden structures (as opposed to steel and concrete). Hence the surveying too.
In this fully mirrored space, which replicates into infinity, visitors seek to orient themselves and may even lose their physical stability. The effect of the room is accentuated by a three-part sound journey that starts with the inner self and travels through the history of the world. The sounds alter the body’s perceptions as it moves through the world and ultimately runs riot in the infinite expanses of the universe. Where am I? And how many? From Galtür to infinity!
Stories by and about people from Galtür can be found in books, on walls, in audio features and in speech bubbles. Christian Bernhard (Christli Kuahaut) was able to carry fully-grown cows, a stable lamp was attached to the open, gaping jaw of a frozen stiff female corpse and Ernest Hemingway, Johann Jakob Weilemann and many travellers, climbers, topographers, writers, poets and journalists, men and women ... have all narrated and spoken until an almost realistic mountain paradise or hell emerged from literature.
In a specially built cinema hall, a film fascinates up to 80 viewers. "Galtür – a village in the mountains" is the title of the Alpinist and director Lutz Maurer's documentary of the avalanche of 23 February 1999. The film describes the emergence of this natural disaster and gives an insight into how this fate changed Galtür and its people. A touch of nostalgia blows into the midst of the most modern technology – the folding seats of the former Galtür cinema hall from the 1970s come into their own here.
On 23 February 1999, 31 people lost their lives in an avalanche in Galtür. The avalanche reached a settlement that had been considered to be free from natural hazards and caused great suffering. Even experts and scientists in the relevant disciplines speak of a once-in-a-millennium event. This fate connected guests and locals in a special way. With this room, we want to make sure that we don’t forget. The cocoon of the seating niche gives a very special view of the tryptich “Memento” designed by Arthur Salner. Pain, grief and hope merge into one another in an abstract form.