- Philippe Albèra
- Henri Atlan
- Emmanuel Bigand
- Jean-Pierre Boon
- Paul Bourgine
- Renaud Camus
- Grégoire Carpentier
- John L. Casti
- Marc Chemillier
- Claro & Mario Caroli
- Arshia Cont
- Mark Z. Danielewski
- Carl Djerassi
- Geoffroy Drouin
- Shlomo Dubnov
- Jean-Pierre Dupuy
- Brian Ferneyhough
- Andrée Ehresmann & Jean Paul Vanbremeersch
- Jean-Luc Hervé
- Fabien Lévy
- Philippe Rahm
- Lisa Randall & Hèctor Parra
- Raoul Ruiz
- Richard Taylor
- Lars von Trier
- Dmitri Tymoczko
- Denis Weaire & Wiebke Drenckhan
The term complexity is often used with regards to contemporary music, especially to describe the difficulties associated with understanding the meaning. It is largely related to the fact that the idea of a unitary construction, turned towards a finality and perceptible within a unique perspective, has been replaced by a multi-pole construction, that constantly (re)defines itself by offering a multitude possible readings. A composition of occasionally homogeneous, occasionally heterogeneous musical layers that cannot be reduced to a lowest common denominator has replaced the former polyphony based on the intertwining of independent voices.
More: The Symposium's Musicological Interludes
Born in Geneva in 1952, Philippe Albèra studied in Geneva and Paris. He created Contrechamps in 1977 and was director until 2005. He also created Ensemble Contrechamps in 1980, the Revue Contrechamps in 1983, and the Éditions Contrechamps in 1991 that he continues to run. As coordinator of the Salle Patino, a contemporary art venue, he created the Archipel festival in 1992 and worked in close partnership with different institutions as a consultant (e.g. Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Festival d'Automne à Paris). Albèra teaches at the Hautes Écoles de Musique in Geneva and Lausanne (history of music and analysis). He has published writings on numerous composers as well as essays in journals and encyclopedias; a collection of texts was published in 2008 Le son et le sens, essais sur la musique du XXe siècle, by the Éditions Contrechamps. He was awarded the Prix de la Ville de Genève in 2003.
Former head of the biophysics department at the Hôtel Dieu and a member of the French National Advisory Committee on Ethics in the Life Sciences and Medicine for 17 years, Henri Atlan is one of the pioneers in the domain of complexity and self-organisation applied to biology. Raising central issues on life and science, a scholar and philosopher inspired by Spinoza, Henri Atlan opposes science with biblical, mythological, Talmudic texts and philosophy. Atlan's theories attest to a long and unparalleled reflection on the complex nature of the relationships between science and ethics. His ideas question the compatibility between scientific thought, oriented entirely towards determinisms, and the understanding of complexities, a continual source of indeterminism. His ideas have contributed greatly to the clarification of societal issues such as cloning, recent discoveries on prions, or developmental biology.
Author of numerous works on cellular biology, philosophy, and bio-ethics, Henri Atlan is based in Jerusalem and Paris. He will be taking part in this colloquium through a filmed interview with Frank Madlener, Andrew Gerzso, and Gérard Assayag produced at IRCAM on May 20, 2009.
How do the Listeners Deal with Musical Complexity?
In this talk I will present recent research on implicit learning and showing how implicit learning processes allow human being to deal with environmental structure of considerable complexity. The second part of the talk will consider the case of music, and specifically contemporary music.
Emmanuel Bigand is the director of the UMR CNRS laboratory on learning and development (LEAD) and a member of the Institut universitaire de France. His speciality is cognitive psychology of music and is particularly interested in learning processes implicit in Western tonal and non-tonal music. He co-directed a multidisciplinary research program on music cognition and society with B. Lortat-Jacob and currently organizes a European program (EBRAMUS) on music, the brain, and health. Website
Time, Music, Complexity
There is a consonance between the musical phenomena and some of today's scientific problems. In music, just as in physics, time plays a fundamental role in relation to the concepts of determinism and unpredictability. While the time-music relation may be obvious, the time-complexity relation cannot be explained using the formal definition of the notion of complexity. Once this relation has been established, the measure of the temporal evolution of a musical sequence becomes the measure of the dynamic complexity of the music. The recognition of the parallel between the musical phenomena and complex phenomenon open the doorway to a way to understand the dynamic structure of music with tools used for physics and mathematics as can be seen with an analysis of music from the 17th to the 20th century. Moreover, there seems to be no evidence to support the idea that there has been an increase of complexity in musical writing in parallel to the evolution of classical music.
Jean-Pierre Boon is honorary director of research (FNRS) and professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. His research focuses on statistical mechanics, specifically on cellular automata and statistical hydrodynamics. He wrote the book Lattice Gas Hydrodynamics with Jean-Pierre Rivet (Cambridge UP, 2001; pbk 2005), Molecular Hydrodynamics with Sidney Yip (Mc GrawHill, 1980; Dover, 1991), and Redécouvir le Temps with Adolphe Nysenolc (Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 1988). Website
The Border of Chaos: from Physics to Arts
The « border of chaos » is often evoked for characterizing a lot of phenomena from physics to social and arts. In the physical world, the turbulence - which remains quite mysterious theoretically - is considered to be at the border of chaos. Life is too, which is between the crystal and the smoke. An important way for understanding the meaning of the border of chaos comes from the theory of dynamical systems. After a simple presentation of the theory, examples mentionned above will be revisited as well as some others in the cognitive domain, the social domain and, finally, arts.
Paul Bourgine is director of CREA-École Polytechnique and of the French National Network of Complex Systems. PhD in Economics and in cognitive science. His main scientific interests are about generic questions, transversal to complex adaptive systems and large interactive networks, such as the reconstruction of multiscale dynamics, the universalisation of collective behaviour, robustness and resilience. He is working on genetic networks and embryogenesis, neural networks, social networks and social cognition, learning and co-evolutionary dynamics. He was involved in the emergence of fields including Cognitive Economics, Artificial Life, Science of Complex Systems.
The complex and polyvalent oeuvre of Renaud Camus has crossed all the literary genres imaginable: elegies, chronicles, novels, eulogies, directories, topographies, stories, miscellaneous, manuals, writings on politics, the twenty volumes of his famous journal. His work also includes the long list of his eulogies that began with Passage in 1975 (Flammarion), Échange (with his heteronym Denis Duparc) the following year, Travers (with another heteronym Tony Duvert), until L'Amour l'Automne (Travers III) (POL, 2007) – a work which perhaps best illustrates the complexity of a business. His site Vaisseaux brûlés is one of the first literary explorations of hypertext. Website
Questions of Complexity in Computer-Assisted Musical Orchestration
Of all the elements present in musical writing, orchestration has long been an empiric activity, removed from formalisms and rarely addresses by computer music science. The complex relations between the symbolic variables of writing and perceptive properties of instrumental combinations are, in our opinion, the major source for this absence. We will demonstrate the complexity of these relationships can be found in a variety of forms (combinatory, perceptive, temporal) and suggest a unique theoretical setting to treat the problem of orchestration in its entirety. We will present a series of examples of applications of our work on concrete compositional problems.
Grégoire Carpentier is a researcher with the Musical Representations Team at IRCAM. His work centers on the design and development of computer-assisted composition environments that capture the complex relationships between sound and the symbolic data inherent to musical creation. He recently worked on an innovative system that assists orchestration and makes it possible to imitate the timbre targets defined by the musician, with the support of the instruments in the orchestra. Website
John L. Casti
Artistic Form and Complexity
This lecture explores the question, "Is 'good' art complex?" The talk proceeds by first explaining the Chaitin-Kolmogorov theory of algorithmic complexity, and then defining a subjective measure of complexity and "goodness" for some pieces of abstract art. Comparisons and connections between these notions are then explored by empirical investigation to conclude that in general what people perceive as "good" tends to be more complex than that which they see as less good.
John L. Casti received his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Southern California in 1970. He worked at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA, and served on the faculties of the University of Arizona, NYU and Princeton before becoming one of the first members of the research staff at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria. In 1986 he took up a position as a Professor of Operations Research and System Theory at the Technical University of Vienna. He also served as a member of the External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, where he worked extensively on the application of biological metaphors to the mathematical modeling of problems in economics, finance and road-traffic networks, as well as on large-scale computer simulations for the study of such networks. Dr. Casti has published eight technical monographs in the area of system theory and mathematical modeling, as well as eleven volumes of popular science, including the book Paradigms Lost, Complexification, Would-Be Worlds, and The Cambridge Quintet. Website
Approaches to Complexity in the Arts and Oral Traditions: Natural Mathematics
Natural mathematics deal with mathematical structures in particular activities of traditional societies such as visual arts or music. It appears that complex structures can arise in contexts where writing is not used. The main difficulty in this approach is to establish a link between these formal structures, studied "in laboratory", and mental representations of native people, as they can be observed during fieldworks. We describe these difficulties in different artistic domains.
Full Professor ("Directeur d'Etudes") at the Mathematical Center (CAMS) of the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris, France), Marc Chemillier works at the crossroads between theoretical computer science, anthropology and music. His main interest focuses on models of orally transmitted knowledge in various subjects such as divination (in Madagascar) or traditional music (in Central Africa). His recent research deals with computer simulation of improvisation. He has published in 2007 a book on natural mathematics ( Les Mathématiques naturelles, Paris, Odile Jacob). Website
Claro & Mario Caroli
On Complexity in Traduction / Interpretation
Author and translator Claro was born in 1962. He published 8 works of fiction, including Madman Bovary (Vetticales) and has helped in the promotion of numerous Anglophone authors including William T. Vollmann, Thomas Pynchon, William Gass, John Barth, and Mark Z. Danielewski. Claro co-directs the "Lot 49" collection of American fiction for the Éditions Le Cherche midi. For Claro, he never just « translates from English, but translates a text and, beyond that, a life. » Website
Mario Caroli, an Italian flautist born in 1974, studied with Annamaria Morini and Manuela Wiesler and holds a PhD in philosophy. After winning the Kranichstein award at Darmstadt at the age of 22 he began a brilliant international solo flute career. Regularly acclaimed by critics worldwide, Mario Caroli performs a repertoire that includes over twenty works that range from Vivaldi to contemporary composers. He teaches at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg.
Towards Effortless Complexity through Machine Intelligence
Realtime music cognition and interactions are effortless abilities among music listeners or trained musicians that pose interesting challenges to machine intelligence community due to the natural complexity of musical structures. We motivate our talk by an overview of existing challenges in machine intelligence dealing with music such as realtime coordination among musicians, abstract models of time among composers, and cognition of musical structures among listeners. We then propose solutions to each complex problem within the single cognitively-inspired design principle of Anticipatory Modeling, with the common premises of using adaptive learning techniques, assuming dynamic structures in modeling, and achieving complex behavior through simple design. Exposed problems and solutions will be focused on representation and treatment of dynamic musical structures using methods of information geometry, realtime coordination and synchronization during music performances, and the complexity of musical interactions in computer music.
Of Iranian origin, Arshia Cont is a researcher in the Realtime Musical Interactions Team at IRCAM. His work centers on artificial intelligence, cognitively inspired complex systems, and information theory, applied to realtime computer music and music information retrieval. Since 2007, Cont has also been a computer music designer collaborating with composers such as Marco Stroppa, Jonathan Harvey, Philippe Manoury, and Pierre Boulez; and appears as performer of live electronic pieces with various ensembles worldwide. From September 2008, Cont is also in charge of coordinating scientific and musical research at IRCAM. Website
Mark Z. Danielewski
Mark Z. Danielewski (b. NYC, 1966) is the author of House of Leaves, a tale that takes place on several narrative levels, mobilizes typography, film techniques, and thoughts on architecture and labyrinths in an attempt to create the impossible space of a house that is inexplicably larger inside than out with words. Only Revolutions, an epic tale, a love story, a road story with set limits (360 pages, 360 words per page) can be read from beginning to end, or vice versa, by turning the book. Translated by Claro, Mark Z. Danielewski's books are published by Denoël. Website
Science-in-Theatre: Primitive Complexity at Work
Nature in October 2008 mentioned 42 definitions of complexity "none of which encompasses everything people mean by that word." In addition to the highly complicated, sophisticated and ambiguous meanings of the term, which will be explored by most of the symposium participants, it seems worthwhile to also consider the personal and even anectodal, non-theoretical aspects of complexity. As a chemist for nearly 50 years, who then pursued a bifurcating path via fiction to play-writing with a focus on "science-in-theatre", I wish to illuminate through several theatrical examples what complexity has meant to me personally when attempting to use the stage in over a dozen countries and cultures to smuggle science into the public's mind.
Author, playwright, and professor emeritus of chemistry at Stanford University, Carl Djerassi has been awarded both the National Medal of Science (for the first synthesis of a steroid oral contraceptive) and the National Medal of Technology. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and numerous foreign academies, he is also he author of poems, short stories, autobiographies, 5 novels and 8 plays. He is the founder of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program near San Francisco, which by now has provided residencies and studio space for over 1800 artists in the visual arts, literature, choreography, and music. Website
Complexity and Emergence in Music
Our talk will focus on the evaluation of the concept of emergence in music. After introducing the epistemological content of this concept as related to the notion of complexity, we will restrict it to the musical reality in order to evaluate its specificity. This will enable us to distinguish between a perception based emergence in which the listener actualizes the phenomena and a notion of emergence which realizes in the compositional (writing) process, independently from the listening strategies. Thanks to the different contradictions which are rooted in the notion of emergence, we can suggest that emergence is a central concept in the compositional process. It expresses a singular moment of the writing process and represents a new modality in the traditional relation between perception and composition.
Geoffroy Drouin received his diploma in composition from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he studied with Gérard Grisey and Marco Stroppa. Chosen by the IRCAM reading panel, he followed the Composition and Computer Music Cursus program in 2003. His work has been programmed and perfommed by ensembles and institutions such as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Court-Circuit, l’Itinéraire, TM+, 2e2m, the Nieuw Ensemble of Amsterdam, IRCAM, the Présences festivals, Why Note, Musik der Jahrhundert. Under the Entretemps association, he is codirecting seminaries on composition in IRCAM since 2008. Website
Opera of Meaning: linking Space, Audience and Performance
From studious situation in the Talmud, to machine improvisation and hyper-film installation, we present a system for directed participatory performance that encourages people intervention and back-channeling. In the talk I will discuss how non linear reading of a text and plot deconstruction in an info-architectural setting may help distill the complex network of meanings and impressions hidden in a story.
Shlomo Dubnov is an Associate Professor in Music Technology at the University of California, San Diego. Prior to this he served as a researcher at IRCAM in Centre Pompidou, Paris and was a faculty at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Hebrew University and B.Mus in composition from Rubin Music Academy in Jerusalem. He has been involved in a number of state of the art research and creative projects in digital media. He is the author and director of Kamza and Bar Kamza, a participatory performance created using Opera of Meaning method. Currently he is co-editing a book on, "The Structure of Style: Algorithmic Approaches to Understanding Manner and Meaning" to appear in Springer in 2009. Website
Time and Vertigo
A narrative such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) illustrates a structure that has been called "self-engulfing artifact". The abstract form that corresponds to it is the signature of what the late Francisco Varela called an autonomous, complex system. The temporality associated with it is a loop where past and future mutually determine each other. It will be shown that far from being vain formal exercises, those figures represent fundamental features of the human existence.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy is a Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris (emeritus), and at Stanford University, California. He is a member of the French Academy of Technology and the Director of Research of Imitatio Inc., a new foundation devoted to the discussion and dissemination of René Girard’s mimetic theory. His most recent work has dealt with the topic of catastrophes. He is the author and/or editor of 39 books and hundreds of articles.
Brian Ferneyhough (b. England, 1943) studied at the Birmingham School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London before leaving England in 1968 to study in Amsterdam and then in Basel. He has received several awards and distinctions, notably the Gaudeamus Competition (1968-1970). From 1973 to 1999, Ferneyhough taught and worked with numerous institutions including the Musikhochschule in Freiburg-im-Breisgau, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and the University of California at San Diego, before becoming a professor at Stanford University. His vocation for teaching has led him to teach in different locations and he is often a guest instructor for the world's most prestigious institutions and universities. In 2007, Ferneyhough received the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for lifetime achievement.
Andrée Ehresmann & Jean Paul Vanbremeersch
How to Model Complexity and Emergence in Art?
We will try to show how the emergence of a work of art is the result of a dynamic which develops in a hierarchical system with multiple temporalities. In the frame of our mathematical model "Memory Evolutive Systems" we analyze the formation of multifold objects (with "double reading") of increasing complexity, which emerge in the social system of an "artistic world"; for instance, artistic trends, in response to new ways of thinking, to social, cultural, scientific or technological changes. Such an object can be integrated in the archetypal core of an "artist", individual agent of the societal level. There, it will evolve and become still more complex but locally situated, as a fruit of the resonance/conflict between agent/category (artist/society). It matures through the archetypal self-activated loops which reverberate to the net of the episodic, semantic and procedural memories of the artist. Finally its realization as a work of art will materialize at the societal level, and we show how this production corresponds to an emergent complexification of the initial societal stimuli via the medium represented by the artist.
A.C. Ehresmann is Emeritus Professor at the Université de Picardie Jules Verne, and Director of the international Journal "Cahiers de Topologie et Géométrie Différentielle Catégoriques". In 50 years of mathematical research she has published about a hundred papers on Functional Analysis and Category theory and edited and commented the 7 volumes of "Charles Ehresmann: Œuvres complètes et commentées". Website
J.-P. Vanbremeersch is a physician with a specialty in geriatric who has both a liberal practice and a coordinator role in an old people's home. He has long been studying the complex responses of organisms to illness or senescence.
Since 1984 they have together developed the model "Memory Evolutive Systems" for natural complex systems, such as biological, social or cultural systems, with an application (the model MENS) to cognitive systems. This model is based on category theory; in particular it gives a characteristic property (the "multiplicity principle") at the basis of the emergence of increasingly complex objects and processes. Their results are presented in their recent book, summarizing about 30 research papers. Join website on MES
Caressing Time - Gérard Grisey's Writing of Musical Time
Time has always been a major preoccupation in the oeuvre of Gérard Grisey. In the last work by the composer, Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, the writing of musical time reached a rare level of complexity. But this complexity is paradoxical; when one listens to the music for the first time, it seems to be exceedingly simple. The composer's project in this work seems to work with very simple material that lets the complexity of musical time be heard through it: the time is not the structure that supports the musical writing, but the musical material simplified to the extreme becomes the support for the intimate movements of time for the composer. The complexity of musical time in Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil is of an organic nature. In this work, if the music appears to be mineral, the time appears to be alive.
Jean-Luc Hervé was born in 1960. He studied at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Gérard Grisey where he won a first prize in composition. He was a resident at the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto in 2001 and worked as a guest artist in Berlin in 2003, where he was invited by the DAAD. His work for orchestra, Ciels, won the Goffredo Petrassi award and his CD recorded by the Sillages ensemble won the Académie Charles Cros award. He is a professor of compositon and orchestration at the Conservatoire (CRR) de Boulogne-Billancourt. Website
Apperceptive Complexities, Grammatological Complexities and Heteronomous Complexities in Music
A multitude of definitions can be applied to the notion of musical complexity. Two categories can however be distinguished: the grammatological complexities, which mean the complexity of the thought of a writing (algorithmic complexity of a musical process, for instance) and the apperceptive complexities, delineating the psychological or cultural difficulties of perception. In addition, the aesthetic judgement can be heteronomous, induced by external causes (ethics, sociology, economy, logic). We will try to point up the imbrications of these different complexities.
Fabien Lévy is a composer. He studied composition with Gérard Grisey in Paris. He was resident at the Villa Medici / French academy in Rome and in Berlin with the DAAD Artist program. His works, published by Billaudot and Ricordi Germany, have been performed by l'Itinéraire, the London Sinfonietta, the Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt, the Argento Ensemble, the Habanera Quartet, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Radio Symphony orchestra (among others). He won the 2004 Förderpreis from the Ernst von Siemens Foundation for music. He taught at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns-Eisler in Berlin (Germany), and is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Columbia University in New York (USA). He lives in New York and Berlin. Website
Architecture as Meteorology
Negentropy, a violation of the universe's symmetry, a theory of dissipative structures and of new scientific knowledge produced in the 20th century upsets the order of values between symmetry and asymmetry, balance and unbalance, life and death, beautiful and ugly. They put the reasons put forward by Vitruve for choosing the notions of symmetry, balance, or homogeneity as criteria for beauty in architecture in crisis. Today, we will fully accept this new aesthetic field, to base architecture on a thermal unbalance and a climatic asymmetry and to explore physical, formal, programmable, ecological, and aesthetic possibilities. Thinking of space as an asymmetric atmosphere, with its cold poles and tropical equator, its cold and warm fronts, its variations in humidity and light. Architecture as meterology.
Philippe Rahm (b. 1967), architect, graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne in 1993. In 2008, he was one of 20 international architects chosen to take part in the 11th Biennale Architecture in Venice. Rahm has taken part in a large number of exhibits (e.g. at the San Francisco-MOMA 2001, Centre Pompidou in 2003, 2005, and 2007, at the Centre Canadien d’Architecture de Montréal in 2007, and Manifesta 7 in 2008) and has given several lectures on his work in venues such as Princeton University, Harvard University, and University of California Los Angeles. He was a resident at the Villa Medicis in Rome in 2000. Rahm holds a Master's degree from the AA School of London, and was a guest professor at the Académie d’Architecture de Mendrisio in Switzerland and at the EPFL in Lausanne. Website
Lisa Randall & Hèctor Parra
A projective opera in seven planes Hypermusic Prologue is a unique collaboration between science, music and art. We explore the historic form of opera to generate a dramatic expression of 21st Century ideas and the creative process, including recent developments in higher dimensional physics and their parallels in music and art. In this opera the public is led from the standard initial three-dimensional psychoacoustical space of the concert room to sense the opening of unsuspected new spatial-acoustical dimensions. The musical and vocal rhythms, pitches, and melodies, as well as usages of the non standard ways of playing the instruments, electro-acoustic spatialization are precisely "sculpted" following structural analogies with physical concepts and processes of the warped spacetime models. In this process, new musical materials are born. They will be "unified" as a "hyper-expressive sound matter" that we will find in the more dramatical - highly energetic key moments of the plot of the opera. The music itself and the contrasted rhythmical and emotional tension of the dialogues between the soprano and the baritone are designed to warp and deform the time perception of the public. This opera has been an opportunity to boost research into new and more expressive forms of drama and musical possibilities. We aim to find aesthetically sound structural connections between the most abstract of the arts - the music - with the highly inspiring physical models that Lisa Randall and others have worked on.
Lisa Randall is professor of theoretical physics and studies particle physics and cosmology. Her research concerns elementary particles and fundamental forces and has involved the development and study of a wide variety of models, the most recent involving extra dimensions of space. She has made advances in understanding and testing the Standard Model of particle physics, supersymmetry, models of extra dimensions, resolutions to the hierarchy problem concerning the weakness of gravity and experimental tests of these ideas, cosmology of extra dimensions, baryogenesis, cosmological inflation, and dark matter. Professor Randall earned her PhD from Harvard University and held professorships at MIT and Princeton University before returning to Harvard in 2001. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and is a past winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Prof. Randall was featured in Newsweek's "Who's Next in 2006" as "one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation" and in 2008 among Esquire Magazine's "75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century". Website
Hèctor Parra (Barcelona on 1976) is Professor of Electroacoustic Composition at Aragon Conservatory of Music in Spain, and composer in residence at IRCAM. He has studied composition with Brian Ferneyhough and Jonathan Harvey, as well as with Michael Jarrell in Geneva. He has the Master in Arts of the Paris-VIII University with honours. He has been commissioned by many institutions, including the French state, the IRCAM-Centre Pompidou, the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Berlin Academy of Arts, the Government of Catalonia, the West Deutsch Rundfunk, etc. The Ensemble intercontemporain, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Recherche, Arditti Quartet, among others, have premiered his work. In 2009 he has been awarded the Tendencies Prize by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. In 2007 he has been awarded the Donald Aird Memorial Composition Prize of San Francisco (USA) and the Impuls Graz Composition Prize. In 2005 he was unanimously awarded the Tremplin Prize given by the IRCAM and the Ensemble intercontemporain. In 2002 he won the Composition Prize of the National Institute for Performing Arts and Music of Spain. A monographic CD with his chamber music performed by the ensemble Recherche has been published by the label KAIROS (Vienna, 2008). Website
The Chilean filmmaker, Raoul Ruiz, has made over one hundred feature-length films. An impure cinematic art of shadows and digressions in which "it is not about making the public believe as it is about showing how to create illusion". His films are not works of fiction, but on fiction. Close to the literary universe of the works he has adapted for film (e.g. Kafka, Proust, Stevenson, Dürrenmatt), Ruiz has also written essays where he lays bare a poetic, and political, vision of cinema, refusing the linear narrative and the "theory of the central conflict" omnipresent in Hollywood. Website
Fractal Expressionism - Painting Nature's Complex Patterns
Fractals are patterns that repeat at many magnifications, building shapes of immense visual complexity. These intricate patterns are found throughout nature, ranging from clouds, rivers and lightning through to our brains, blood vessels and lungs! They have also assumed a rapidly expanding role in the arts and sciences. Due to their growing impact on cultures around the world and their prevalence in nature, fractals constitute a central feature of our daily visual experiences throughout our lives. Humanity's intimate association with these fascinating patterns raises a simple and yet crucial question - does exposure to these complex patterns have a positive impact on our mental condition? In this talk, I will explore some of the intriguing properties of fractals and then focus on an art-science collaboration that builds on the works of famous fractal artists such as da Vinci, Hokusai, Kandinsky, Pollock and Escher. In this collaboration, artists, photographers and architects will use 'fractal expressionism' to reduce people's stress levels in a novel and dramatic manner.
Richard Taylor is a Professor of Physics, Psychology and Art. Since gaining his Ph.D. in 1988 (Nottingham, UK), he has published over 200 research papers and has worked in the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, he trained as a painter at the Manchester School of Art (U.K.), and has a Masters Degree in Art Theory (University of New South Wales, Australia). Taylor has studied fractals and chaos in a diverse range of research fields, including psychology, physiology, physics, geography, architecture and art. His work has been the subject of television documentaries and popular press articles (for example, the New York Times and Scientific American). He regularly gives lectures around the world, commissioned by agencies as diverse and the Nobel Foundation, the Royal Society and national art galleries. Website
Lars von Trier
Born in 1956, graduated from the Danish Film School in 1983, Lars von Trier is internationally considered to be a prime mover behind the revival of Danish filmmaking, not least because of his role in Dogme95 manifesto. Von Trier’s film work ranges from the avant-garde to reinterpretations of classical genres. After the Europa Trilogy, he established his production company, Zentropa Entertainments. The Golden-Heart Trilogy gained him wider recognition (Dancer in the Dark, Palme d’Or in Cannes). After Dogville and Manderlay about USA, the film Antichrist will be released in May.
Geometry and Music
In my talk, I will explain how to translate basic concepts of music theory into the language of contemporary geometry. I will show that musicians commonly abstract away from five types of musical transformations, the "OPTIC transformations," to form equivalence classes of musical objects. Examples include "chord", "chord type", "chord progression", "voice leading", and "pitch class". These equivalence classes can be represented as points in a family of singular quotient spaces, or orbifolds: for example, two-note chords live on a Mobius strip whose boundary acts like a mirror, while four-note chord-types live on a cone over the real projective plane. Understanding the structure of these spaces can help us to understand general constraints on musical style, as well as specific pieces. The talk will be accessible to non-musicians, and will exploit interactive 3D computer models that allow us to see and hear music simultaneously.
Dmitri Tymoczko is a composer and music theorist who teaches at Princeton University. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of two music-theoretical articles published in Science, the second with Clifton Callender and Ian Quinn. Website
Denis Weaire & Wiebke Drenckhan
Local Simplicity and Global Complexity – the Physics of Foams
Follow us into the dazzling world of soap films and foams, in which fundamental principles of energy minimization shape films and bubbles in intricate ways. These provide not only scientific insight into the consequences of nature’s desire to optimize, but also elegant role models for architecture and design by being simultaneously efficient and beautiful. Let us build a foam, step by step, moving from its fundamental ingredient – the soap film – towards increasing complexity; pausing for a little while here and there to witness how simple, local equilibrium rules create complex patterns, and to see how art, science, mathematics, biology and architecture meet naturally at each level of complexity of this bubbly material.
Denis Weaire is Emeritus Professor in the School of Physics, Trinity College, Dublin. He is still very active in research. He is a Vice-President of the Institute of Physics and a Fellow of the Royal Society. His research interests have been in materials science and the physics of foams, which has led him into various historical and artistic adventures. Website
Wiebke Drenckhan did her PhD with D. Weaire and is now CNRS researcher at the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides d'Orsay, France, where she continues her work into bubbly materials. She co-founded Ireland based SEED art-science collaborations (www.seed.ie), an organisation dedicated to bring artists and scientists together in collaborative projects. In her spare time she works as a cartoonist for journals such as the Europhysics News or the German Physik Journal. Website