You may have heard of “Toblerone” the world famous Swiss chocolate in the shape of a pyramid. However, it is also the nickname given to a defensive anti-tank construction used during the Second World War. The 14-ton blocks of concrete were cast on-site and scattered in strategic lines in order to limit movements by enemy tanks.
Although Toblerones never served their initial purpose, the blocks underwent maintenance for a long period of time and are now extremely well conserved. This is not necessarily due to the cost of removing them but more because in Switzerland integration is generally preferred over destruction. So today the Toblerones enjoy a historical, esthetic, ecological and touristic status. They are now classified as historical monuments as part of the national heritage while many of them also enjoy a new life.
It is because they are so grounded in our landscape and culture that they continue to live on. These obsolete remnant pieces of the war can be found in all kinds of areas. Such as forests, lakes, residential zones or private gardens. Sometimes they are even bought by communes or passionate individuals who give them new purposes such as tool sheds, boundaries for delimitations, or even infrastructures that can stimulate the development of biodiversity.
I am interested in the development of the landscape in parallel with Swiss culture. Because these objects have not been altered since their construction they become a type of ‘relic’ from the past. And so I use the photographic medium to extract these ‘relics’, to confront them to the present time and to show them in their state of integration within our contemporary daily life. Could there be a parallel between living alongside Toblerones and the feeling of connectedness to the past. Are these blocks of cement not national history after all?
Text: Yannic Bartolozzi // Translation: Marwan Bassiouni