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SoAH Research Presents: DIAGRAM

24 February 2021 | 6pm – 8pm


Diagrams have a history in the development and emergence of thought in many disciplines and exist in many forms, combining words, lines and figures to express ideas, concepts, relations, propositions. However, beyond the graphic presentation of information, diagrams also function abstractly and creatively to generate the new, the unexpected and the unforeseeable.

In this research event we bring together three speakers who work in different fields of practice: mathematics, music and fine art. As well as being introduced to concrete examples relevant to each, this event provides an opportunity for the audience to consider relationships between diagrammatic practices and thought across the different disciplines.

Professor du Sautoy will explore the role that diagrams have played in mathematical and scientific discovery.

Lucia D’Errico’s presentation revolves around the practice of "divergent performances," by which a performer's relationship with Western notated art music is questioned and challenged in favour of an experimental attitude towards the past. Instead of presenting musical works in their original instrumental and sonic configuration, they are evoked through sounds and gestures unrecognisable as belonging to their pastness: electronics, modern instruments, dance, a.o. The interpreter turns into the operator, a figure that far from replicating, reproducing, or reconstructing the musical past, emphasises the potential in it latent for the emergence of the new.

Whereas traditional interpretation relates to the "archival" dimension of notated musical works, regarding them as historical repositories of forms, the operator considers them as "diagrams": reservoirs of forces, maps of possibilities that can generate unexpected and potentially infinite sonic results. This presentation will draw a parallel between my own divergent performance of Amarilli mia bella (1602) by Giulio Caccini and Gilles Deleuze's observations around Painting 1946 by Francis Bacon in The Logic of Sensation.

David Burrows will talk about recent research undertaken on a residency at Flat Time House in December 2020, with the Diagram Research Group, addressing cosmological diagramming in art and physics. The talk will address the work of John Latham and Yayoi Kusama and other artists, and diagrams and theories concerning time and black holes in the work of physicists Fay Dowker, Roger Penrose, Carlo Rovelli and Lee Smolen. The talk will begin with a brief examination of the ideas of C.S. Pierce and Gilles Châtelet concerning diagrams and end with reflections on the philosophical and aesthetic perspectives generated by cosmological diagrams.

Registration essential.

The event will be held via Zoom Webinar. Please note the link and password will be sent to attendees via email.
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The event will be live streamed on Twitch, details to follow.

Speaker Bios

Marcus du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is author of six books including his most recent books The Creativity Code (Fourth Estate 2019). He has presented numerous radio and TV series including a four part landmark TV series for the BBC called The Story of Maths. He works extensively with a range of arts organisations bringing science alive for the public from The Royal Opera House to the Glastonbury Festival. His play I is a Strange Loop (in which he is both actor and author) was part of the Barbican’s Life Rewired season. He received an OBE for services to science in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016. He has just finished a book on Shortcuts that includes a whole chapter dedicated to Diagrams and has also made a series for the BBC called The Beauty of Diagrams.

Lucia D’Errico is an artist-researcher in the field of music with a specific focus on performance, experimental practices, and transdisciplinarity. Her research interests include contemporary philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, semiotics, and epistemology. After completing her PhD in the framework of the ERC funded project MusicExperiment21 (2013–18) she is currently a postdoc fellow at the Orpheus Institute, the co-editor of the recently launched book series Artistic Research at Rowman & Littlefield Int., and the coordinator of the doctoral program docARTES (Ghent, Belgium). She is the author of Powers of Divergence. An Experimental Approach to Music Performance (2018, Leuven University Press) and the co-editor of Artistic Research: Charting a Field in Expansion (London: Rowman & Littlefield Int.). She is active as a composer, sound artist, guitarist, video performer, and graphic designer.

Professor David Burrows is an artist and writer who teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art. Current research investigates the production of fiction as a transformative process and Burrows is co-author, with Simon O'Sullivan, of the book Fictioning: The Myth Functions of Contemporary Art and Philosophy (2019). Burrows has long been interested in collaboration. Since 2006, Burrows has collaborated with O'Sullivan, Alex Marzeta and Vanessa Page and others to produce Plastique Fantastique, which investigates the performance of fiction as transformative and critical practice. Diagrams and diagramming is another research interest. Burrows is a member of the Diagram Research Group (DRG) with Mary Yacoob, Dean Kenning and John Cussans, who all belong to the Social Morpholgies Research Unit (SMRU) hosted by UCL concerned with collaboration between artists and anthropologists sharing diagramming as a research activity. Burrows collaborated with Kenning to curate and produce a Plague of Diagrams at the ICA London in 2015, an exhibition, performance event and conference exploring diagrams and art, Burrows also contributed to the SMRU exhibition, Invisible Morphologies and Other Agents at SPACE London in 2018.

David Burrows has published essays and reviews in magazines and journals including Art Monthly, Variant, Mute, Angelaki, New Left Review and in a recently published chapter 'Science Fictioning Singularities', addresses the diagrammatic imaginaries of physics and art, in the book Data Loam (2020). Burrows has exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad including Chisenhale Gallery London, Arts Space Sidney, Mori Art Museum Tokyo, Frederieke Taylor Gallery New York, Galerie Praz-Delavallade Paris. Burrows received a Paul Hamlyn Visual Artist Award in 2001. Plastique Fantastique have exhibited and performed widely too, throughout the UK and abroad, including ‘Zero Time’ GiG Munich (2020); ‘Mars Year Zero’ Southwark Park Galleries (2019); ‘Horniman X’ at the Horniman Museum London (2019); ‘Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness’ Hayward Touring exhibition, Mac Belfast (2018), DCA Dundee and Bury Art Museum and Sculpture; ‘The Call us the Screamers’ TULCA Festival of Visual Arts Galway (2017). Most recently, in 2020, David Burrows has completed a residency at Flat Time House, Peckham, with a collaborative group DRG focused on diagram research. @plastique_fantastique