Infamie : Fragmente einer Kartographie

christian calon

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christian calon
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Infamie : Fragmente einer Kartographie

Deutschlandradio Kultur – Klangkunst – 2005

Mercator, cosmographe, cartographe.

Les Grandes Conquêtes européennes du XIVe s.

Les liens entre la science et le pouvoir.


(Infamy: Fragments of a cartography)


Götz Naleppa

DeutschlandRadio 2005

Premiere: december 2, 2005

Voices by order of appearance

Zachari Thibodeau

Lysanne Thibodeau

Heinz Becker

Isabelle Mohn

Kaisa Tikkanen

Bernard Schutz

Fortner Anderson

Ned Bouhalassa

Geneviève Letarte

Brenda Keesal

Nada Laukamm-Josten

Mummy! language, what is that?

It is the house in which man lives.

Mummy, is the house ours?

« What is language?

It is the house in which man lives.

And what is a dictionary?

A map for sailing through the islands and continents of language. »

Fragments of a cartography presents this map in a non-linear fashion. a map in space, yes, but also a map through time.

Back in the 16th century, a man gave us the tools to understand and visualize the world. He did it by drawing on paper and copper. He drew maps and globes, which told the truth about the real knowledge of the world at his time. His maps, commissioned by Kings, Princes and Churches also told the truth about the political and economical forces, ventures and conquests, at the time when the greatest discoveries were being made.

A scientist, philosopher, strong adept of the new born humanism of Erasmus, imprisoned by Inquisition for his ideas, Gerhard Kremer, better known as Mercator the cosmographer, had to find a balance in his work between political and religious pressures, and scientific truth.

And, from the very few writings he left to his maps and globes that taught us on how to visualize the world in a synthesized fashion, from the reports on the great discoveries of the 16th century to the events and moments in old and recent History, this project draws another map, with sound and language: a fragmented map of the dreams, the desires of man, and of the fears, the atrocities and horrors that man, in his quest for wealth and power, inflicts to other men, everywhere, on every continent. And these fragments also tell: the universality of Infamy through time. So we start with… A: anthropocentrism…

References and sources

This radio program was written with the help of many sources and references whom I warmly thank. Main sources, references and quotes are: Niccolo Machiavelli, History of Florence (~1525); Gerardus Mercator, Atlas Sive Cosmographicae Meditiones de Fabrica Mundi et Fabricati Figura, (1589+); François Villon, Epitaph, (~1463); Bartolomeu de Las Casas, Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1542); Charles Darwin, Jean Rostand, various radio and film quotes and UNO, UNHCR, AI and other organizations  documents.