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BelleVille 09 - © Google Earth

I leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths
Jorge Luis Borges, Fictions

« Forking Paths »

Inspired by the oeuvre of Berio and the spirit of Borges, Agora 2009 is a unique multidisciplinary encounter focused on the idea of complexity in the arts and sciences. The labyrinths of Forking Paths belong to architecture and contemporary writing, to the drama found in music and film editing, to the career of Luciano Berio or the signature of Lars von Trier - two central figures in this year's edition of the festival. Agora has escaped beyond specialization using the labyrinth itself as Ariadne's thread.

During this event, Berio's protean works 'prompt' the creations of Luis Fernando Rizo-Salom, Luca Francesconi, and Bruno Mantovani. In the Agora script, each evening has its own exclusive, and unduplicable, identity: the musical reading of four of Goya's Black Paintings, the rare marriage of a string quartet and a voice, an evening of improv with the OMax program, the first collaboration with the Orchestre de Paris where the orchestration is similar to the chemistry of taste, a 'projective opera' that brings together the talents of the composer Hèctor Parra, the English artist Matthew Ritchie, and the physician Lisa Randall. The mutual fascination between the arts and the sciences is hinted at in the twenty premieres being held during Agora, taking place through analogies, fiction or application, drawing an art-science meridian using correspondences and bifurcations.

Today, the notion of complexity present in numerous academic disciplines (mathematics, physics, molecular biology, economy, humanities) is finding new extensions in connection with the logic of living and emerging systems. Complexity can be found in artistic creation through a multitude of attributes - variety and ambiguity, irreducibility and discontinuity, the inclusion of the random, unbalanced systems. However, this generated complexity does not guarantee a perceived richness: this controlled interval is a trait of a broad scope work. A common term, complexity, is applicable to an artistic process and a theory, to the real and its understanding, even though these domains rarely have the occasion to "test each other" or to be carried out together. The specificity of the international symposium organized during Agora consists of suggesting shared topics for discussion - musical, literary, and film works, mathematical objects, scientific theories. Organized with the Spectacles vivants, the Cinémas, and the Revues parlées du Centre Pompidou two encounters shed light on the temporal strategies of their respective writings. In the tension among disorder, redundancy, and the apparition of something new a palpable and intelligible plot is being hatched: a search for, or the creation of, a transitory organization at the heart of an ostensible chaos. Through the writing of waiting and the unforeseeable, the autonomous arts sketch this common meridien. 

This new edition of Agora offers contemporary music a few substantial allies and considerable interlocutors from beyond its domain, which neither the activist for nor the denigrator of contemporary music want to imagine. Berio, in the forest dark of meaning, in the tangle of multiple forking paths - Dante and Sanguinetti, Joyce and Calvino, Machado and Eco - would have been the resonating name of an act of crossing.
Forks, bifurcating is acting transversely.

Frank Madlener