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Guerino Mazzola | Melting Glass Beads—The Multiverse Game of Strings and Gestures | 04.25.2014

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Published on May 14, 2014

As part of ART2, an International Platform on Contemporary Art held in New York during April, and one of its multifaceted projects, Composing Differences (curated by Virginie Bobin), Glass Bead invites philosopher Reza Negarestani and musician and mathematician Guerino Mazzola for a series of public talks at e-flux.

Prior to its 2015 launch, Glass Bead inaugurates a year of inquiry in New York with a weeklong radio series addressing how art practices can explore new geometries of knowledge and initiate different modes of instituting.

A critical review of Hermann Hesse's idea of a glass bead game is presented in light of recent developments in mathematics, music theory, and theoretical physics. The common denominator of these new dynamics is the shift from Wittgenstein's world of rigid facts to an ocean of elastic gestures. In such a soft architecture of knowledge production, the ultimate principle of uniqueness as conceived in the idea of a singular universe breaks down to a multiverse—a multiplicity of worlds that terminates the historical breakdowns of uniqueness principles from geocentricity (Copernicus), to anthropocentricity (Darwin), chronocentricity (Einstein), and ratiocentricity (computers). We discuss contributions from eminent mathematicians Alexander Grothendieck and Yuri Manin, theoretical physicist Edward Witten, music theorist David Lewin, and philosophers Tommaso Campanella, Paul Valéry, Gilles Châtelet, Jean Cavaillès, Charles Alunni, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. We complement their positions with our own contributions to topos-theoretical concept architectures and theories in gestural music theory. We offer realizations, both by means of gestural composition software and with examples from contemporary free jazz. The talk concludes with a reconsideration of the game concept as a synthesis of artistic and scientific activity in the light of gestural fluidity.

Guerino Mazzola qualified as a professor of mathematics (1980) and of computational science (2003) at the University of Zürich. He served as visiting professor at the Mathematics Department of the University of Rome in 1975, associate professor at the Mathematics Department of the University Laval/Québec in 1996, and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris in 2005. Since 2007, he has been a professor at the School of Music, University of Minnesota. He developed a Mathematical Music Theory and its accompanying software: Presto and Rubato. Since 2007, he is the president of the Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music. He has published 22 books and 130 papers, made 23 jazz CDs (as a pianist and composer), and composed a classical sonata. In 2000, he was the winner of the Medal of the Mexican Mathematical Society. In 2005, his book The Topos of Music was proposed as book of the year to the American Mathematical Society.


Between April 21 and 27, Composing Differences, curated by Virginie Bobin, with Council, Glass Bead, Open School East, and PAF, brings together artists, curators, researchers, and other arts professionals from France and the United States who establish new art platforms, explore tactics of knowledge production that promote the circulation of knowledge, and experiment with art as an agent of social change. Composing Differences is part of ART2 and is organized in collaboration with MoMA PS1 and
e-flux.

The project is supported by Etant Donnés, Fund for Contemporary Art.

ART2 is a month-long visual arts festival presented with thirty-eight partner museums, galleries, universities, and non-profit spaces in New York during April 2014. The culmination of eighteen months of cross-cultural research, ART2 will consider seven main ideas and themes, chosen by artists and arts professionals from the two countries, prevalent in today's patently global art world through exhibitions, talks, conferences, workshops, publications and editorial matter. These seven subjects do not specifically concern France and the United States, but, on the contrary, drive the international art world today. ART2 was conceived as a platform for generating constructive debate "intellectual friction" between artists, arts professionals, and those interested in contemporary art.

ART2 is presented in collaboration with the Institut français, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and FACE (French American Cultural Exchange).

  • Category

  • Song

    • Sacrifice of the Dancer (Live)
  • Artist

    • Heinz Geisser, Guerino Mazzola
  • Album

    • Folia / The Unam Concert (Live)
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • CD Baby (on behalf of Silkheart Records), and 1 Music Rights Societies

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