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Humboldt 360 ̊ | An expedition in Latin America

© Erika Torres, 2019

This 360-degree lm retraces Alexander von Humboldt’s travels in Colombia and Ecuador. Accompanied by original quotations, visitors travel through today’s Latin America. In four episodes, thelm takes on Humboldt’s precise way of looking at the world as a cultural scientist, ethnologist and critic of colonialism, racism and exploitation, showing the image of Latin America that peo- ple travelling nd there today. The journey stops along the way at Cartagena, Bogotá, Quito and the Chimborazo.​

Alexander von Humboldt’s childhood dream was a research trip to South America. He traveled all around the continent with French doctor and botanist Aimé Bonpland between 1799 and 1804, first, through Venezuela and Cuba, then on to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. The impressions he gathered on that trip would have an impact on the rest of his life. In four seasons, Humboldt 360˚ | An expedition through Latin America reconstructs the stops Humboldt made during his trip around Colombia and Ecuador. The focus, here, is not only on the South America that Humboldt intended on getting to know, but is also on the continent today – with all the continuities and ruptures that have happened since then.

Arrival in Latin America
In 1801, Humboldt arrived in Cartagena, Colombia. After a trip along the current shoreline, the Colombian microbiologist Alberto Gómez Gutiérrez introduced us to Humboldt’s life during a long walk through the forest and revealed to us what had motivated the scientist.

Learning from the cultures
A second station brings us to Sesquilé, Colômbia. After watching a private concert in a family home, we accompany Ernesto Mamanche, the leader of the regional indigenous community Muísca and we meet the children of the community.

In Quito, Ecuador, we meet the historian Christiana Borchert de Morena, who tells us that Humboldt immersed himself in Quito’s social life and we follow his trail through the Ecuadoran capital, for instance, with his passport, which is kept there. 

The Chimborazo volcano climb, in Ecuador, posed one of the greatest endurance tests on Humboldt’s trip. Despite freezing temperatures, heavy equipment and the decrease in oxygen levels, he still managed to take measurements above 5 thousand meters above sea level. In our fourth station, we follow Humboldt through the Chimborazo’s snowy cliffs.