from digital ECHOS to virtual ETHOS
Music technology meets philosophy

Άτρακτος To Attractors:A Transvergent Workshop on Worldviews and Worldmaking in the 21st Century

Άτρακτος To Attractors:A Transvergent Workshop on Worldviews and Worldmaking in the 21st Century

Wednesday 17/9, 17.00-20.00

Marcos Novak (Univesity fo California, Santa Barbara)

Old University Museum, Tholou 5 , Plaka


Άτρακτος To Attractors: From Le Legende D'Eer to the Laniakea

Supercluster: The Other Half of the Renaissance

A Transvergent Workshop on Worldviews and Worldmaking in the 21st Century

Marcos Novak

Art, and, above all, music has a fundamental function, which is to catalyze the sublimation that it can bring about through all means of expression. It must aim through fixations which are landmarks to draw towards a total exaltation in which the individual mingles, losing his consciousness in a truth immediate, rare, enormous, and perfect. If a work of art succeeds in this undertaking even for a single moment, it attains its goal. This tremendous truth is not made of objects, emotions, or sensations; it is beyond these, as Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is beyond music. This is why art can lead to realms that religions still occupies for some people.

Iannis Xenakis, in Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Music.

This workshop weaves together three elements -- cosmology, art, and philosophy -- for the purpose of examining how contemporary and ancient worldviews can inform one another and lead to the development of strategies for artistic production of renewed relevance and vigor for 21st century civilization.

This workshop compares contemporary and ancient worldviews, and discusses their implications for worldmaking and the production of new works in art, architecture, music, and new configurations of media arts in our globalized, hyperconnected but hyperdistracted times. It brings together art, science, technology, and philosophy, and seeks to illuminate what powerful and meaningful work might be for us today.

More specifically, the three elements to be examined are: a) the recent discovery of the Laniakea supercluster; b) the Xenakis electroacoustic composition La Legende D'Eer for his 1978 Diatope de Beaubourg in Paris, and c) Plato's original Myth of Er which concludes The Republic, and which provides is the basis for the Xenakis work.

In more detail: In September 2014, astronomers from the University of Hawaii published a new way of defining galactic superclusters, showing that the Milky Way, our solar system, and the Earth within it, belong to the Laniakea supercluster. Laniakea (which means "immeasurable heaven" in Hawaiian) acts as the basin of attraction for billions of stars drawn to the Great Attractor gravitational anomaly. Establishing this cosmic position marks another great advance in our knowledge of our place in the Universe, and takes us another step away from the geocentrism of antiquity. On the other hand, the geocentric cosmological view presented by Plato in the Myth of Er seems far removed from our contemporary understanding of the world, but has remained relevant to us for many reasons other than astronomical correctness, finally coming to inform a significant contemporary work by Xenakis. What can we learn from seeing these three elements syncretically, as aspects of the same human curiosity?

Ultimately, the workshop examines the idea that the Renaissance and Enlightenment were interrupted before they could be completed, and that their completion is now left to us, if we can adjust our worldview and understand the problem properly. While this is relevant to the whole world, it is particularly important to Greece in its present predicament.

Workshop Structure

Part I:    Presentation+Provocation

Part II:   Discussion with Guests

Part III:  Participant Group Activities

Part IV:  Presentation of Participant Group Activities

Part V:   Conclusions and Closing