Schweigen im Walde

/ Natur. was ist das? Tier und Pflanzen. Was soll das sein?


In their latest piece, CapriConnection follow the paths of the Zoologist Adolf Portmann from Basel (1897 – 1982). He promoted the education of laypersons in natural science on a level unseen in the German speaking region. Looking at plants and animals and the course of their live we would learn how the secret of our very own existence is hidden from us.

When we heard Adolf Portmann for the first time in «Das Schweigen im Walde» (The Silence in the Forest), a radio show we found in the Swiss radio archives, dating back to August 9th 1956, we were intrigued by the quality of his voice. Witnesses of his time remember his lectures as being proper events. Portman was able to capture his audience by giving them a very vivid impression of foreign forms of life. He studied the diversity of alive forms of nature like a lover. For him it was pure pleasure. Why does the Sylvia Borin bird sing in the most beautiful way in moments where its preservation of the species is irrelevant? Why does the bowerbird build artful little huts out of twigs and paint them with blue colour? Why are variable neon slugs so incredibly colourful despite the fact that they can hardly see anything? What is it that pushes toward the outside in this urge for self-expression? Where does it come from if not from inside? What Gestalt is coming forth? And if the ecstasy of nature was serving functionless expression, wouldn’t life then appear as a deeply theatrical phenomenon?
Inspired by Portman’s theory of nature and musically supported by the compositions of Olivier Messiaens «La rousserolle effarvatte» (the reed warbler) from the «Catalogue d'Oiseaux», we begin to perceive and to think differently.


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