L'Alpe

L’Alpe 06 : new millenium

Translations : Cary Bartsch

Written for people looking for information with meaning, L’Alpe is the first review devoted to the many cultures and heritages of Alpine Europe. Its ambition is to provide information, language barriers not withstanding. As your guide, L’Alpe looks at the people who, from the meandering Danube to the Rhône, have adapted to an exceptional climate. A cross between a book and a magazine, it draws on the first to provide background documents on a main theme, supported by rigorous analysis, an insistence on quality and the notoriety of renown authors. From the second, it adopts a quarterly rhythm for regular contributions to current debates, rich illustrations, the insatiable curiosity of its journalists and a necessarily didactic approach. Though rigorous in its approach to knowledge, L’Alpe is not a scientific journal. It calls on the contributions of history, geography, archaeology, ethnology, etc. to shed light on the meaning of the traces left by man on the mountain environment. And it is also open to current debates on the future of the Alps and other mountains in the world.

The inventive Alps

The time has come for local initiative. The current leitmotiv is «  small is beautiful  », the slogan that the hippies in 1968 were already attempting to put into effect in California and Ardèche. Clearly, the third millennium in the Alps will tend to be beautifully small. The market economy spells the end of enormous development projects initiated by the central government. The Alpine population must take the future into its own hands. Luckily, local initiatives are not in short supply ! We simply had not taken the time to look.

Unavoidable future imbalances ?

The Alps are headed toward serious imbalances, on the basis of the population movements observed over the last few decades, with increasingly urban valleys and abandonment of the higher areas. Is this gradual shift truly unavoidable ?

Alpine manifesto

Indefatigable promoter of sustainable development for the benefit of mountain populations subjected to urban pressures, Helmut Moroder presents here a vibrant appeal on behalf of the Alpine Convention. A militant and optimistic view.

The stomach of the medusa

The Age of Discovery is over. Will the third millennium be the Age of Discovery Aids ? Anything goes when it comes to explaining mountains and exploiting their image, often in a manner bearing eloquent witness to our own distorted perception. The result is a standardised, uniform view. Are the only choices contradiction, compensation or exploitation ?

Back in 2000 BCE…

What was going on in the Alps some 4 000 years ago ? Round figures are an invitation to let your imagination roam. The answers of a historian are surprisingly applicable to modern times. The economic, social and human processes at work would appear to be fundamentally the same, whether in Bronze or the Internet Age.

The Alps and civilisation…

The year 0 never existed… and therefore cannot serve as a milestone in the chaotic history of the Alps. Nevertheless, it is around the beginning of the common era, some 2 000 years ago, that the Alpine peoples were subjected to Roman rule. The Romans were pragmatic and their fear of the mountains could not distract them from the material wealth waiting there. And so, civilisation was brought to the Alps, manu militari…

Saint-Ours at one thousand and counting

The country fair scheduled to begin for the thousandth time in Aoste on 30 January 2000 is a venerable event still going strong. Its origins are lost in the mists of time when pilgrims and merchants travelled the Grand-Saint-Bernard road. This yearly and very festive event perpetuates a collective ritual, bringing the Alpine communities together to share their traditional crafts and trade.

Winds…

The end of a millennium would not be complete without an homage paid to one of the major mountain elements that has sculpted landscapes and long fascinated men. What better than the wind, the symbol of freedom and inspiration, could typify the transition to a new world, in a year 2000 that will hopefully be less materialistic and full of new ideas.

Portfolio – Full Moon

Alps abroad. Artist Michael Light unearthed these grey mountains in the NASA archives and restored their original splendour using computer techniques. The result is a cosmic tour that even a Turner would probably not have scorned, a remarkable symbol for a millennium drawing to a close, with moon exploration now at a standstill.

My Alps in the third millennium…

Watch out, these exceptional texts were produced by authors trying their hand at a delicate task, a playful fugue on the Alpine third millennium. These short pieces reveal the fantasies and interrogations of scientists and researchers, photographers and writers, concerning a future that, fundamentally, is very similar to a deformed image of the present…

My sea, my Alps, my loves…

Summer time. Vacation time. What better musings to pass the time than the year 2000 and the question «  My Alps in the third millennium  » ? Marvellous and blessed idleness. I take refuge in the silence of the glowing calm of the sea…

The last tango at Quart-Villair

The cultural heritage of all of humanity, the Alps have again, thanks to a recent discovery, contributed significantly to our comprehension of the history and the customs prevalent in Europe prior to the nuclear war. Now protected by their status as an archaeological park, the Alps contain a vast array of remains and relics that will hopefully continue to teach us more about this lost civilisation.

Two Ms for memory

The year 2000 ? Of course, I remember it well ! For me, it is like my date of birth or, more precisely, my baptism. Have to say, it took me some time. You see, in my condition, it is rather difficult to move around. It takes some thought before coming to a decision…

Mirages

It had been so long in coming that no one, not even the mountain itself, knew when or how its trip had started. The only thing known for sure is that one morning, the mountain had started out, slowly and in the greatest of silences, and that it had continued its journey, through wind and rain, clouds and mist…

The first breath

Everything had started out so well. Just like every other time, Paul Dumont had rapidly explained the purpose of the Our World conferences, followed by the specific subject for the evening. His introduction on wild nature, on the North American wilderness, was down pat. Any problems concerning the transition with his film Our Planet had long been ironed out…

The wanderings of a darky in the Valais

What a delight to skim through very knowledgeable books and learn that the Alpine passes have been and continue to be a corridor through which humanity has crossed paths since the Palaeolithic era…

The Alpine underground

The festivities lasted several days. On 22 May 1882, the Federal Council inaugurated the Gothard train line in the presence of representatives from the German and Italian governments. The line was viewed as a link between peoples, the means to put Northern Europe in contact with India, via the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal…

Alpe-Bourg 2044

The avalanche did not hit the village on 15 February 2044. That did not surprise the inhabitants of Alpe-Bourg. In spite of over 21 meters of snow since November, the avalanche barriers on the upper slopes had held…

Black sun

One-nine-nine-nine, two-zero-zero-zero… Why does the transition between these two sets of digits, both equally worthy and striking, signal any real modification in our lives ? Does anything really change when the power meter passes from 1999 to 2000 kilowatt-hours ?

Luminous timekeepers

During this next-to-last summer of the final century before the third millennium, I am repainting time, engaged in the gnomonic and pictorial restoration of a sun dial dating from 1776. From the scaffolding on the site, the vast mural starts to float before my eyes…

A sense of authenticity

He had the right to know. Clearly, the public had to answer the legitimate questions raised by the newspapers, to convince one and all. Yes, Joseph Durant was of the same opinion as everyone else, Joseph Durant was a self-made man, Joseph Durant had led a full life, Joseph Durant was making the most of what life had to offer…

The year 2000. Birth of an image.

It was the rainy season, with fog and its accompanying shadows, the sun fleeing suddenly before the tempest, storms worthy of the Himalayas and the raging clouds. The monsoon season with its mysterious and disquieting moods. May 1994. No tourists in this valley below Everest, in Nepal. They prefer the calm season in the fall.

The weight of knowledge

I am an old man and when I follow the herd, it is simply to watch. Our nephew is now the one running the show. When the herd heads to the alpine pastures, I stay home. I read my notes from my journals, noted on the road and up in the pastures, and the journals of other shepherds from the last century, whom I never met…

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