[ISEA2011] Paper: Joanna Hoffmann – Butterfly Wings of Pythagoras


“Space is  the way of existence of life, and life is the way of existence of space”   _S.Semotiuk

Pythagorean idea of Harmony was the first model of this integrity. The discovery of the hidden order of the Universe expressed in numbers and proportions was not only a top achievement of pre-Socratic search for the essence of Nature but also the most influential and beautiful concept born by the human mind. His “Mathematic Song above Songs” for the first time linked the human inside with the cosmic space and inspired the development of science and art.

In the XIX century Charles Darwin changed our perception of the world: what was static and eternal became constantly evolving. Then, the theory of deterministic chaos replaced the everlasting harmony by temporal synchronizations of complex and vulnerable systems and living matter was reduced to the DNA, making the rest of organism a part of genes’ much larger, interdependent habitat.

These changes in our perception have altered but not erased the essence of Pythagorean concept. In the depth of micro and macro realities, in the slits of everyday life we seek for scattered fragments of the “ Grand Theme”; its phrases and cadences to order the chaos of our ignorance, and to find one’s own, ephemeral place within the dream of the non-human Harmony. About this search is my talk based on 2 my artistic projects:

“Tones and Whispers” (multimedia installation 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),

“Proteios” – series of video and interactive installations (i.e. Secret Life,  Molecule, Hidden Dimension) inspired by the structure and dynamics of protein molecule, initiated at  the residency at Khoj & International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi (2007) followed by the residency at CEMA/Srishti College of Art Design and Technology & National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India (2009).

  • Dr hab. Joanna Hoffmann, Prof. of the University of Arts in Poznan, PL, Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research. Artist, educator, researcher. Author of 25 individual shows and participant of numerous group exhibitions and festivals, e.i.: at the Centre of Contemporary Art in Warsaw, PL; Science Museum DANA Centre in London, UK; European Patent Office in Berlin, DE; Transmediale Festival of Media Art in Berlinie, DE; WRO Biennale in Wroclaw, PL. Participant of many conferences and symposia i.e.: Impact V, Art Museum KUMU, Tallinn, EE, 2007, Mutamorphosis. Challenging Art & Science“, Prague, CZ 2007; “Interfaces of Art” Academy of Arts In Cracow, PL 2007; ISEA2008 14th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Singapore, 2008, ‘Towards 3rd Culture” Gdansk PL, 2011.  Workshops include: “Living Matter. Art & Research & Science Studies in Biological Laboratories”, Academy of Media Art in Cologne, DE, “Transistor 2011”, CIANT, Prague, CZ.  Awarded twice by fellowship of Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Residencies include:  KulturKontakt Vien, AT; KW Academy of Film and Television Potsdam-Babelsberg, DE; KHOJ & ICGEB International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology New Delhi, CEMA Centre for Electronic Media Art /College of Art., Design and Technology/ i NCBS National Centre of Biological Science in Bangalore, India. Visiting professor at the State Academy of Arts in Oslo, NO; Camberwell College of Art/ University of London, UK; Winchester School of Art University of Southampton UK; Universitad de Castilla – la Mancha, Cuenca, ES; UdK Universitat der Kunste Berlin, DE; National College of Arts and Design in Dublin, IE.

Full text (PDF) p. 1211-1216