Heimat What’s That
|Editor:||Monika Müller-Hutter, Josef Felix Müller, Markus Comba, Hans-Peter Kaeser, Susi Rüttimann|
|Format:||Publication; 304 pages, 27 × 18.5 cm, hardcover, cloth binding, dust jacket, thread stitching|
|Text:||Jörg Abderhalden, Daniel Ammann, Florian Bachmann, Theres Bauer, Andreas Baumgartner, Judith Baumgartner, Peter Baumgartner, Bernhard Brack, Kalid Dilêr, Otmar Elsener, Andreas Fagetti, Felix Falkner, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Arnold Forrer, Hil-de-Gard, Meinrad Gschwend, André Gunz, Ernst Herb, René Hornung, Ralph Hug, Gardi Hutter, Theo Hutter, Kudret Isai, Jan Kaeser, Verena Kast, Andreas Kneubühler, Sabina Manik, Mariella Mehr, Daniele Muscionico, Pipilotti Rist, René Rödiger, Peter E. Schaufelberger, Brigitte Schmid-Gugler, Jolanda Spirig, Manuel Stahlberger, Rainer Stöckli, Andrin Tomaschett, Luzia Vetterli, Christa Wüthrich, Martin Zimmermann|
Meaning something like ‘home’ or ‘homeland’ but with no single definition, the word ‘Heimat’ is highly contentious in the German language due to its connotations relating to German Romanticism, German nationalism, German statehood and regionalism. In the age of identity politics, the question of ‘Heimat – what’s that?’ is therefore highly explosive.
This was, however, also the case in the past. About twenty years ago, to be precise. It has been almost that long since Vexer published the volume Heimat. What's that? The occasion was the canton of St.Gallen’s 200th anniversary, which it celebrated by funding a whole series of cultural projects to mark its jubilee. This book was one of them.
Created at Napoleon's table in Paris, the State of St.Gallen is a complex, heterogeneous entity. This is exactly what Heimat depicts in a variety of texts: stories, portraits, reflections, interviews, aperçus, thought sketches, notations. From the drunkard who also wrote poetry and painted, to the office worker who went on a protest strike, to refugees and emigrants who lost their homes and have now become searchers. Artists and cultural producers such as Pipilotti Rist or the clown Gardi Hutter also contribute texts; they tell of their authors’ origins and their work, which to them means something like “Heimat”. The majority of the texts were written by experienced writing professionals and media representatives.
There were and are many answers to the question of what ‘Heimat’ is. Hence the work has lost none of its topicality. On the contrary, it has gained even more, namely two decades of history in which reflection about ‘Heimat’ has never diminished.