“Whispers of Harmony: Is the Pythagorean notion of harmony still relevant in our time?” presented by Hoffmann-Dietrich


Session Title:

  • Between Art and Science 2

Presentation Title:

  • Whispers of Harmony: Is the Pythagorean notion of harmony still relevant in our time?




  • The origin of the Greek word techne – to weave, suggests that our realm is woven by technologies. Such notions like mixed reality, expanded reality or virtual reality do not only prove the impact of technology on our lives but also bring to the fore the old philosophical dispute on the reality itself. Most of representatives of cognitive sciences claim that we have no direct knowledge about the world; our knowledge refers only to the model of the world conditioned by our nerve system – mainly brain. Pythagorean idea of the World’s Harmony, expressed in consonant relations between its macro and micro components has been recognized the most influential concept born by human mind in order to connect the man with the rest of the Universe.

    Is the Pythagorean notion of harmony still relevant in our times? Is the quest for harmony still intellectually and emotionally challenging? Is it stimulating or limiting our cognition?

    I will base my talk on my own investigations as an artists and theoretician as well as on reflections by scientists from different disciplines and cultures, with whom I was collaborating on artistic projects.

    As my own work is concerned I would like to focus on multimedia installations strongly related to interconnections between micro and macro, inner and outer, virtual and real:
    – “Tones and Whispers” (realized with the support of Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London and awarded by the first prize in Europlanet contest by Space Research Center Polish Academy of Science 2007) referring directly to Pythagorean Harmonia Mundi, in which cosmic and everyday landscapes merge with ultra sonography and fMRI scanning, Johannes Kepler’s “Music of Spheres” with sounds of cosmic radiation and micro sounds of human body.
    – “Life Matters” inspired by the contemporary definition of life associating it with DNA replications. Initiated at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi, India, the project uses research materials on diseases in which transmission of genetic code plays essential role. It joins virtual computer simulations, life cells images, everyday environment and global statistics with the search for life in cosmic space, challenging our rational and emotional perception.

    [also artist talk]

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