Mysterium Cosmographicum, chapter 1

The Prognosticator (Or, We Are All Pythagoreans Now)

Video or live performance, 26 minutes

"We all know of the special theory of relativity and the equations of Lorentz-Fitzgerald and Einstein, which link space and time because of the finite velocity of light. From this it follows that time is not absolute. Yet time is always there. It "takes time" to go from one point to another in space, even if that time depends on moving reference frames relative to the observer. There is no instantaneous jump from one point to another in space, much less "spatial ubiquity"--that is, simultaneous presence of an event or an object in two sites in space. On the contrary, one posits the notion of displacement. Consequently (and this is an hypothesis that I freely advance), if we were to adhere to quantum mechanics and its implications accepted now for decades, we would perhaps be forced to admit the notion of quantified space and its corollary, quantified time. But then, what could a quantified time and space signify, a time and space in which contiguity would be abolished? What would the pavement of the universe be if there were gaps between the paving stones, inaccessible and filled with nothing?" -Iannis Xenakis

"The Prognosticator (Or, We Are All Pythagoreans Now) is part science fare project, part avant display showroom. It takes up thorny questions of creativity, inquiring into the relations between nature and culture. Or between imagination and math. Hysterical anti-computer tirades (“it’s the new golden calf”) rub shoulders with a doctor who claims that music’s divine harmonics are medicine, his original talking head replaced with a devil’s face. Are computers the new face of spiritual longing? Its systems and programs devised to channel every human effort? Colour flicker fields, planetary orbits, and musical computer code present themselves in a succession of vignettes. The movie closes with an extended shot showing the entrance to a nursing building on campus, with three doors on display. Two are locked, and these two are invariably tried, before the many visitors finally open the last door. It’s as if we’re watching a science experiment play out. The system works all right. Unfortunately all it demonstrates is the system itself working."
- Mike Hoolboom

excerpted from the catalog for the Fall 2011 Mary Nohl Fellowship exhibition