The panel is held in the Whitney Humanities Center (53 Wall St) Auditorium.


7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Panel Session

Embodiment of Mathematical Formulas in Musical Gestures?

Moderator: Guerino Mazzola, University of Minnesota

Panelists: Emmanuel Amiot, Moreno Andreatta, Rachel Hall, Thomas Noll

Abstract: The panel focuses on the critical and provocative question: whether, and if so how far, mathematical formulas can be embodied in, and be made understandable through, musical gestures. Fourier's formula is omnipresent in the sciences. In acoustics, it describes how a complex sound wave is composed from a spectrum of sinusoidal overtones. However, the abstract formula can be difficult to understand. In our project, we unveil its mystery and communicate it to the public by means of a traditional Indonesian dance. The project not only provides a faithful "dancing of Fourier's formula", but also a reflection of the dance gestures within the spectral components of Tsuda's original composition. Rotating dancers, configured according to bodies in the solar system, represent overtones. Electronic position and movement trackers transmit dance movements to a computer system to generate complex sounds in real time. Three "police dancers" act violently on the "overtone dancers," distorting the corresponding musical sounds. The video of the premiere serves as rich material inviting scientific and artistic perspectives on mathematics and music by a panel of experts.