CASS 2000 Grande Dixence

Once again through an engineer working on the site, I learnt that the company Grande Dixence SA was looking for ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dam construction.

I was introduced to the person in charge of Communication who was enthralled by my proposal and gave me the green light. It’s not every day that a group of young noise musicians aged 22 is given the keys to one of the biggest dams in the world!

You know the details:
Switzerland launched an ambitious dam construction programme in the Alps of the Valais to meet the country’s electricity needs.
At the time, the Valais was a peaceful mountain area, mainly relying on agriculture and livestock. The construction project therefore changed the small farmers from shepherds and breeders into miners – many became labourers in the galleries and the heavy work.

This was a revolution leading to the Valais, as one part of Switzerland, entering into the modern age.

The Grande Dixence is unique in its size, forming part of the chain of gravity dams. It covers a smaller dam that already existed: The Petite Dixence. What a vision at the end of the war to see water as renewable energy and thus green energy. Today this vision continues to resonate in a new understanding.


A word on visual art

A work of art such as Der Laufe Der Dinge of Fischli and Weiss provides a perfect analogy of what is happening in this race for Energy, between the transformation of snow into water and then the water into electricity through the turbines, transportation of the electricity by cable to supply the population on the other side of the Sarine – this could almost lead us to believe in chance, but in view of the immense scale, a chance that is precisely programmed.

When I studied the archives of the worksite, I noticed a young man had been working as a telephonist on the Grande Dizence to finance his first film. This film was called Opération Béton (Operation Concrete) and the young man in question was called Jean-Luc Godard.

The place, through the strength of its history and symbolism, has become the artistic director itself. Through this sound experience, I wanted to suppress the visual scene and to introduce movement into the act of listening.

By chance, Andy Guhl’s daughter had filmed all of this and sent us the video recently, in order to show some extracts during today’s presentation.


Kinetic energy, vertical labyrinth, tunnels, rocks, machines, desire (not as in a theatre but as in a factory), noise, resources and work, managing danger, electricity, holding back mass by weight, form and function, valves, turbines, monitoring wells, lifts, feminine full face, masculine in profile.

Grande-Dixence Dam | 2000
Official partner: Grande Dixence S.A.


Enrique Fontanilles | Jean-Luc Godard | Peter Fischli & David Weiss | Carl June | Hervé Graumann | Daniela Grüninger | Andy Guhl | Victoria Oldham


Andy Guhl | Charlotte Hug | Margrit Rieben | Norbert Möslang | Günter Müller | Yannick Barman | Antoine Chessex | Yves Cerf | Richard Jean | Frédérick Quennoz