Above the tree line… Moreness – A monograph on the state of being more

Above the tree line
Moreness – A monograph on the state of being more
by Anna Quinz

franzLAB is a South Tyrolean communication agency and publishing house that I founded 10 years ago together with Kunigunde Weissenegger. The philosophy behind our research work and storytelling is encapsulated in the notion “more than apples and cows”. It is a way of understanding and talking about our mountain territory, but also a way of being in, looking at and belonging to these places, which goes far beyond the stereotypical images. To reinforce this vision, to investigate and clarify our idea of “more” and give it greater substance, we have launched a new publishing venture: a cross between a magazine and a book we decided to call “Moreness“.

“Moreness” is arranged into trilogies, and we have chosen to dedicate the first three parts to the subject we care about most: the Dolomite mountains. The first part, “Above the Tree Line” (published at the end of 2019) describes our (incomplete) attempt to climb to the highest points of these ecosystems, up beyond the tree line. We did this by scaling the crags and north faces of thought, crossing the gorges carved out by erosion and doubt, negotiating the passes between different disciplines and using all the intellectual tools we have available.

In keeping with the spirit of the mountains, these pages need to be read slowly and carefully, with pauses for reflection. Among the contributors, the marine biologist Daniel Depellegrin wonders about the interaction between the Dolomites and the sea, while the philosopher Paolo Costa reflects on the connection between mountains and the future. Maria Oberrauch considers the backpack, as an object and symbol of ascent; Antonio De Rossi, director of the Institute of Mountain Architecture at Turin Polytechnic and Laura Mascino, Professor of Urban Planning at Milan Polytechnic, travel between bivouacs and mountain huts to describe the types of structures used for hospitality. Meanwhile, the architect Marco Ferrari turns his professional gaze on the fortifications of the Great War, suggesting a new interpretation; Verena Pliger presents the best of the South Tyrolean mountain industries, and Claudio Larcher, director of NABA Design, offers an encyclopaedic overview of design “at height”. Kunigunde Weissenegger explores the idea of “mountain cuisine”, developed by the three-star chef Norbert Niederkofler; Maria Quinz writes about depictions of the mountains in film, and Sigrid Hechensteiner and Barbara Baumgartner of Eurac Research discuss the current state of mountain-themed research at the Bolzano Research Institute. The founder of Dolomiti Contemporanee, Gianluca D’Incà Levis, explains the thinking behind his regeneration project, while the curator Andreas Hapkemyer looks at the relationship between mountain peaks and contemporary art. Finally, I describe the process of constructing an image of the mountains, and the contrast between stereotypical ideas and reality.

To give the written content extra depth and meaning, it is accompanied by graphics curated by typeklang visual design studio. These include the images of the photographers and artists Leonhard Angerer, Daniela Brugger, Niccolò Biddau, Martin Kippenberger, Hubert Kostner, Philipp Messner, Walter Niedermayr, Marco Pietracupa, Mirko Piffer, Michael Pitts, Mario Tomè, and Gustav Willeit. Finally, a photo story depicts some of the land-art projects created by international artists on the SMACH platform.

Inside Moreness – Above the Tree Line: a collection of observations and reflections by a group of bold thinkers, using their own particular language: people who do not plant flags on the peaks but rather continue to climb, explore and ask questions. Such questions are posed to themselves, to the mountains, but also to all of us who – with a mixture of enchantment and disenchantment – continue to inhabit, visit and love the Pale Mountains. These legendary beings are certainly not changeless, and can influence our present life in so many ways.