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tv   Arts.21  Deutsche Welle  December 14, 2019 5:02am-5:30am CET

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alexander for. himself as an adventurer he really cultivated there's limits of the daring adventure he was in he was the best publicist of machine ever. few know him as well as she doubts andré of wolf is an expert on alexander from home life and adventures biography reintroduced the great naturalist to a new generation of readers and now the world is marking his 250th birthday we made
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out with andrea wolf of the royal institution in london one of britain's foremost establishments for scientific education and research. proves spent over a decade on the traces of alexander from home vault she's written 2 books about him including an illustrated album about his famous expedition to south and central america it depicts the hardships he endured but also his fascination encounters and discoveries and it includes his drawings which fundamentally changed your view of the americas. you for whom boyd was for sure one of the greatest scientists of previous times of all times well he was the most famous scientist of his time and i think he's undergoing a little bit of a renaissance at the moment and i think quite rightly so because i think his views
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. how he brings together the arts and the science how he says that we need to use our imagination and our feelings to understand nature i think are extreme very relevant today as we are dealing with climate change so no one dares to talk about the wonder of nature of the beauty of nature the vulnerable beauty of our planet and i think that something that did. something we could you know bit of that we could probably use today. alexander was born to wealthy parents in berlin in 1769 after a brief career working for the prussian government he used his inheritance to embark on the adventure of a lifetime and set off for america at the age of almost 30 accompanied by the french explorer and botanist anybody who travel to venezuela and from there to cuba
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colombia peru mexico and ecuador he collected plant specimens observed animals and became the 1st european to almost reach the peak of the chimborazo volcano in the n.t. at the time it was thought to be the highest mountain in the world would later wrote $29.00 books about history he really cultivated this image of the daring adventure he was he was the best. publicist to machine ever he would write letters from south america long letters to his friends and then he would end them so i don't mind if you send them to the newspaper so by the time he returns everybody has heard about his adventure so it's very much part of his self promotion. bolt is believed to have written a total of $30000.00 letters luckily for him he was exempted from paying postage by the prussian postal minister. he documented his adventures in the letters and his
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notebooks describing how his boat capsized on the our noko river and he own most drowned talking about the tough hikes and the damage to his feet the various diseases and the mosquitoes. but he also praised the natural beauty and the cultural wealth of the countries he visited. he returned from latin america with a completely new portray of the ancient civilization so he explained that these ancient south american civilization had been very sophisticated cultures with rich languages and with sophisticated architecture and he then in turn influenced many many scholars who began to study them his contemporaries the great german writer johann vulcan from gertrude delighted in his intellectual exchanges with
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whom he once said in 8 days of reading books you couldn't learn as much as what he tells you in an hour. u.s. president thomas jefferson met several times and maintained a correspondence with him for years. i consider him the most important scientist whom i've met. the english naturalist charles darwin is said to have been inspired by whom both while writing his most famous book. on the origin of species alexander from humbled was the greatest scientific traveller who ever lived. europeans have really looked down on the new world and then they're so there's another argument where you can say that he was he had a very strong influence on someone believe are they met in paris and just went home returned and later set that home was woke up
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south americans with his pen so was home alone i think so ho almost descriptions of latin america west so vivid and so beautiful he gave the colonists the confidence to fight their fight of independence. the soldier and statesman simone boulevard was instrumental in liberation latin american countries from spanish control. alexander from humble to is the true discoverer of america his studies did more for america than the action of all the conquerors before his expedition to south america to the asked for travel permission from the spanish team and received a passport for the colonies but he was shocked by how arrogant and brutal the colonial rulers were towards the indigenous peoples was he aware of his own privileges as a wealthy european. i don't
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know if he would see it as we see it today we have to always bear in mind these historic figures that they live in their times what i can say is that he was unlike other europeans who travelled through south america so unlike other europeans he did not. see the indigenous people for example as savages or as barbarians quite the opposite so he was he respected them he would use them as their guides and he very quickly realized that they were that they could navigate the jungle in a completely different way so he described them as the best observers of nature as the best geography lesson ever met he also collected all their languages and later said there is there's not a language in south america through which we could not express an abstract philosophical european concept. yet when he set off on his 1st major expedition on the orinoco one of south america's longest rivers ignored the protests of his local
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guides and dug up skulls in a burial ground in the name of science. bolt was a man of his time he was committed to the enlightenment but he was also obsessed simply devoted to his research and could also be inconsiderate of others as well as of himself. he pushed himself to his limits he was not well prepared when he set off to climb chimborazo the soles of his shoes were far too thin and he had no gloves his feet was soon blistered and bloody but he almost made it to the top to an altitude of $5917.00 mages. no european had ever made it that far. made drawings of everything that he observed so he could show others later. his famous cross-sectional diagram of chimborazo sheds
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light on different climate and vegetation signs and gives an insight into his understanding of nature. he came up with a new concept. and that concept is that nature is a weapon of life that nature is an interconnected whole where everything so. how hangs together from the smallest insect to the tallest tree and he described as a living organism so that's what i mean with the invention of nature that he's not until then nature was much more seen as a mechanical system not as a living organism. the idea of nature as a living organism in which everything is interconnected it was a new one in the 19th century but who also warned that humans were a danger to nature he not only wanted people to understand nature but to feel that this is something that we now have to think about in the current debate about the
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climate crisis since. we have the ability is just not acceptable so in the scientific world for example in peer reviewed articles scientists are not allowed to write about their feelings and their emotions if you speak to scientists most will tell you that they became a scientist because they love nature so i think it is there and there is really time to dare to introduce this into debates again for example i give you one example which you know in the in. our whole debate about climate change we tend to talk about statistics so we say we talk about the increasing acidity of of the oceans but we don't talk about the beauty of wild way. we all know how terrible oil production is for all planet but it is the photograph of a. black oil drenched that makes us kind of stop. untrainable
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space selling book the invention of nature alexander from humble this new world is not only a biography but an adventure story about who travels and discoveries full of exciting imagery. wherever home bottom bomb plant during those past weeks and come on or something new there tension the landscape had to spell over at the palm trees where ornament it was magnificent red blossoms the birds and fish seem to compete in their kind of scopic shoes and even the crayfish risk i knew and yellow pink flamingos to one legged at the shore and the palms fanned leaves mottled the white sand into a patchwork of shade sun there were butterflies monkeys and so many plants to catalog that we run around like fools even the usually unruffled bump last sept he would go mad if the wonders don't stop soon. to get to know his subject will spend
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hours in archives libraries and private collections all over the world but she also literally followed in footsteps. only. one of the great things to write a book about an explorer is that you get to travel the world obviously all in the name of research so i had so much fun. following his footsteps so it was a great excuse to go to latin america where i had never been before and i don't know how other writers do it but i need to i can't describe the landscape i've not seen myself so because i'm not a wealthy prussian heiress to crap i could not qualify for exploration so i had to going to pick and choose so i went up to the right so we are on the edge of the rocks and 5000 meters and sound and here because homo came here and it was here on the trot so. it is vision. as nature is unified this is really the moment where you hear is his epiphany he was there high
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up i'm giving up here 5000 meters. so that was a spectacular moment also because the weather can be so terrible and we were just so lucky everything was perfect and then there was a moment to sun up which is another of the volcanoes where we actually found the hut in which humboldt had slept at 4000 meters. 6 years later on trails full of stored on tucson and again in the last 3 years company german president franco to shine meyer had invited her to accompany his delegation to south america they went to colombia and ecuador and to the galactic a silence in february 29000 and my in all great of the whole year to mark the 250th anniversary of birth wolfe was of course the perfect member of the delegation
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since she had helped to rescue the great explorer from relative oblivion. if someone had told me 8 years ago when i sat on my own in an archive reading through home what's horrible have writing that in 2019 i would listen to the german president give a speech in quito about home was relevance for the environmental debate today i would have never believed it and that for me was very very very important moment to moment with goosebumps and everything because for me the homework that is so important is the one who talks about who warns about the destruction of the environment. more than 200 years ago and to see him being used for this argument again i think is just wonderful it. has been translated into many languages and sold in dozens of. countries she's been invited all over the world
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has received numerous prizes and given dozens of speeches at conferences or on television and she's also on the program committee of the whole board forum the ins new museum for world cultures that's expected to open in 2020 the building that will house it based on berlin's form a city palace contains old and new architectural elements. the home bought for a showcase berlin's rich collections of non european cultural artifacts how would one day of wolf curator an exhibition here if given the chance. of last fall i'm glad i'm not a curator just a historian so i don't have to do this but i think i would. put something in there that deals with is the link between the art and the sciences that bridge that we've completely forgotten so we tend to draw the sharp line between you know we see them
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as 2 different disciplines by someone like homeboy very much united and i think that's really missing at the moment so i would look at that. and also because it's not just alexander it's also vilhelm his name they both have the name who bought it so it should be also something about languages which i think you could bring like poetry science arts stuff like that together alexander's older brother the statesman an educational reform a bill him from whom bald was also very famous during his lifetime the who both brothers grew up at schloss tagle losing their father and as a newly age mother was a staunch advocate of education and both of them made the most of this each in his own why. so they had they were very different already as children both both said that i had an unhappy childhood.
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escaped into books stories of ancient rome and greece and alexander escaped into the forests and take them kind of you know stuff little insects in his pocket and collected and and then later as younger man's they were they were not very close. and then william was very critical about alexander living in paris and said you forget you german this and then later as older man there so there's this really wonderful shift you can see how they become very close and they begin to work together and when you look at. williams work on language you can see that he does exactly what alexander bass with nature he sees language as a living organism. vilhelm was the prussian academic alexander the cosmopolitan
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explorer who became world famous he soon found berlin to provincial and lived in paris when he wasn't traveling his journeys took him to the united states and russia. and though he spent years planning a voyage to india he never made it there as britain's king george the 4th wouldn't give him permission. home bolt is everywhere in monuments places and geographical features around the world have been named after him including the home both current which flows along the western coast of south america there's also the penguin this lily is named after him even. name. it's weird when you go to america where hardly anyone knows alexander from home there's so many places named after their best for example there are 13 towns named after him there are 4 counties there's
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a bay there is a river there is a university named after and there's the cheese some some younger. kids kind of teenagers early twenty's people know his name because the best marianna comes from humboldt county so they have heard his name but they don't know who he is 150 years ago it was a different story in 196910 years after his death and on the 100th anniversary of his birth home both was only with fireworks around the globe why was he only that forgotten afterwards. there's not a single big discovery attached to him was the name so he did not come up with the theory of evolution or he didn't discover. and natural law he came up with this idea that nature as a weapon of life we've taken this idea for so technical so so much for granted that we've forgotten the man behind this idea i think that's one thing and the other thing is that he is the his way of doing science of saying yes on the one hand you
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have to measure everything from the other hand you also have to use your imagination was absolutely not accepted in the early 20th century anymore and then last but not least at least in the english speaking world he there's a very strong anti german sentiment with world war one so that's that's the moment where he's going to get pushed out of the public memory here. many of whom both scientists seem to address contemporary problems not only because we're increasingly dealing with the effects of climate change but also because more and more people are asking what they can do to halt it such as those taking part in friday's future movement headed by swedish chain richard to. realize 2 centuries earlier that human intervention in the natural world can have terrible consequences . there's a moment in his diary in 81 when he is when he's in latin america where he actually says that one day we might travel to distant planets and if we do that we will
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bring who take our lethal mixture of greed arrogance and while it's with us and we will leave those planets as ravaged as we've already done with so i think he sees this trajectory what we are. about to what's about to happen i mean he in $832.00 he says there are 3 ways in which the in which humans can affect the climate he says is through deforestation through irrigation and through the great masses of steam and gas at the industrial centers $832.00 so that was pretty like a prediction pretty prophetic. but the time ball finished. the invention of nature she thought she knew everything there was to know about alexander from whom bolt but then bill in state library acquired his diaries which hadn't been accessible to the public before and knew she wasn't tom little boat yet. there is
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actually one moment i can tell you exactly when i decided that i had to write a 2nd book about which was when. when his legendary south american diaries were bored so they had been in private ownership until then but at the end of 2013 they were bored by the process and heritage foundation and they were made available online so this was the moment when the 1st pages became available at the end of 2014 this was the moment when i was just handing over my manuscript for the invention of nature. so i couldn't use them. for the imagination which was not a problem tons of content we cause we had transcriptions but seeing the actual paper pages 4000 pages with hundreds of little sketches and drawings i knew i wanted to do a book that would also show on boards artistic visual side because he did not just understand nature intellectually but also visually so that's when i decided
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to do whatever you want to call it a kind of graphic novel or graphic nonfiction illustrated. journey of discovery or whatever it is but something that would show his stuff this trailer based on the adventures of alexander from home bolt shows that the book does more than summarize homebuilt south american adventure it recounts his 1st encounter with the continent's indigenous peoples his fascination with its natural beauty his discoveries and his observations about man made disasters illustrator lillian melcher worked many of whom original texts and drawings into this wonderful graphic novel. so in a way he became the collaborator so i wrote it. about every single page there something that did his manuscripts his his engravings his original
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plan specimens his maps is so his his handwriting is everywhere. untrainable spent a decade researching the life of alexander from home in archives libraries and private collections she traveled the world following in his footsteps to find out what he saw and felt on his expeditions she learned about the hardships he endured and the diversity of nature there's no doubt that alexander from whom bolt was a fascinating figure. how do you close the fulcrum someone saw a vibrant and does she even want to you. what i think i want to have to say goodbye forever he's just going to be like an old friend you see not as much as anymore. i'm pretty sure that i'll continue being interested in him i mean this is the same with my previous books about the founding fathers i still
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do talks and events about us to do interviews about it not as much as any more but i do have the feeling in the last almost 4 years since the invention came out i've been in the home was opposite to lady and this kind of time to step back at some stage so. in 2020 i want to finally write another book. so i will see less of it i won't get completely divorced but i will so we'll have some new friends which i will have to entertain not just him. and travel some new project is another historical biography this one is about several people she won't reveal who however she doubt she'll ever encounter another figure as exciting ambivalent and important as alexander from him the great german naturalist and explorer.
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like something from an exotic foreign culture. mysterious and fierce. the hard work of damsel from. euro max next on d w. all the 77 percent of the top
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issues that are not. around this time we meet women who have suffered appalling acts of sexual violence they share their stories of courage and hope. empowering others to stand up against sexual abuse and gender inequality. in 60 minutes on g.w. . with him how to be done because oddly as well the highest high you know if i had known that the boat would be about small i never would have gone on the trip but you know i would not have put myself and my harrison what i'm trying to get out of the theme of the davis leader would. love one spunky the other one the ability to
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give them i had serious problems on a personal level and i was unable to live their lives i'm going to. you want to know their story in full migrants' terrified and reliable information for margaret's. ringback fascinating i know what a wealth your next reporter hendrik wedding visits here at.


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