Natur. Nach Humboldt

About the Project

Following a successful showing during CTM 2020 week, the commissioned work by Maria Thereza Alves and Lucrecia Dalt will continue to be presented at the Botanic Garden Berlin from 24th of January until 16th of February (daily, 9am - 7pm). The spatial sound installation “You Will Go Away One Day But I Will Not” considers the Western practice of using Western scientific nomenclature to name plants worldwide. The audience is invited to walk through the tropical greenhouse wearing headphones that track each user’s movements to generate individualised binaural sonic experiences. Through this immersive installation in the tropical greenhouse, Alves and Dalt attempt to open a space for the multifarious voices of the forest—organic and inorganic, human and non-human, speculative and lived—while also pointing to their silencing and erasure by European colonists.

Alves has worked with the Guarani people of the Jaguapiru Reservation in Dourados in Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil since 1980. She asked longtime collaborator, Guarani teacher, and local reservation leader Maximino Rodrigues and his community to begin this conversation with her; plants were named and honoured with songs. For instance, the community named what we know as Nymphoides humboldtiana with Yvoty mboporã pónhuregua, meaning “five-sided flower of the spirit of the fields and forests: you will go away one day but I will not.”

The work is presented within the framework of the “Natur. Nach Humboldt” initiative, a project celebrating the 250th anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt by presenting modern perspectives on the scientist and naturalist’s holistic approach to nature.

Commissioned by:

Die Junge Akademie
The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of
Sciences and Humanities

Botanic Garden & Botanical Museum Berlin

Deutschlandfunk Kultur
CTM Festival

with spatial sound production from usomo | unique sonic moments



ART MEETS SCIENCE - Matinee Talks in the Greenhouses

The matinee event on 2nd February (11am - 2pm) brings together science and art: Located at various stations within the greenhouses, scientists and artists will discuss different ways of experiencing nature. The closing discussion will address how our relationship with nature has changed since Humboldt’s time.

Matinee with:

  • René Aguigah (German Radio)
  • Miriam Akkermann (sound artist and musicologist, Technical University Dresden, member of Die Junge Akademie)
  • Maria Thereza Alves (installation artist, Berlin)
  • Gilles Aubry (artist, Switzerland)
  • Marcus Becker (art historian, Humboldt University of Berlin)
  • Michael Bies (literary scholar, Freie Universität Berlin, member of Die Junge Akademie)
  • Friedhelm von Blanckenburg (Geologist, Freie Universität Berlin, member of the academy Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities)
  • Karine Bonneval (artist, Paris)
  • Thomas Borsch (Director Botanical Garden & Botanical Museum Berlin)
  • Marcus Gammel (German Radio)
  • Kathrin Grotz (Exhibition Director Botanical Garden & Botanical Museum Berlin)
  • Rona Kobel (artist, Berlin)
  • Nils Köster (Custos Greenhouses, Botanical Garden & Botanical Museum Berlin)
  • Hans Walter Lack (Botanical Garden & Botanical Museum Berlin)
  • Gerald Parolly (Custos Open Air, Botanical Garden & Botanical Museum Berlin)
  • Kirsten Reese (sound artist, Berlin University of the Arts)
  • Dörte Schmidt (musicologist, Berlin University of the Arts, memeber of the academy BBAW)
  • Duo Island Songs

More information in German is available here.


Trailer "Ubiquity"

Involved members

Involved Alumnae/Alumni