The films were all selected with reference to the themes prevalent in the exhibition Unknown Unknowns.
Film Screening Night – 6.30pm – 9pm 29th May 2009.
Something Rich and Strange: The Life and Music of Iannis Xenakis. Mark Kidel 50min.
A profile of Iannis Xenakis, his music and his influences.
8.15pm screening; Followed by a programme of short films.
The Singing of the Birds, 2008, Noah Angell.
Meditations on Violence and Fantasy History, 2006. Noah Angell.
each die I dawn, 2009, Noah Angell.
Everything red is blood, 2009, Xenofon Kavvadias.
Shadow Gap, 2008, PaulMartThe suit fold, 2009, Matthew Stock.
is a wearable sculptural form that has hidden cameras in it. The
footage is from many private views at galleries around London during
the last year. The footage shown here was collected when Matthew was
asked to show footage from the suit at the film screening night at
Unknown Unknowns - May 29th 2009.
Something Rich and Strange: The Life and Music of Iannis Xenakis. (UK 1991 Dir. Mark Kidel 50min)
Mark Kidel’s documentary on Iannis Xenakis, surveying his work, music and influences.
Iannis Xenakis was a Greek composer, music theorist and architect. He is commonly recognized as one of the most important post-war avant-garde composers. Xenakis pioneered the use of mathematical models such as applications of set theory, varied use of stocahstic processes, game theory, etc., in music, and was also an important influence on the development of electronic music.
“Xenakis’s patterns are exact transcriptions of geometric shapes, or of statistical laws that govern mass phenomena such as bees swarming, or the random ‘Brownian motion’ of a gas molecule. But that doesn’t mean we’ll automatically hear them as such. Randomness in a gas molecule and randomness in a piece of music are not the same thing. They belong to two different discourses, and its impossible simply to ‘read off’ the one from the other.
We need to engage not so much with the maths itself, as with the meaning behind it………..
That meaning has deep and entangled roots that stretch down into Xenaksis’ biography, the tormented history of the mid-20th century with which that biography is entwined, and the co-existence in the Ancient Greek mind – and in ours – of dark and light, rational and irrational. Xenakis once described himself as an ‘Ancient Greek living in the 20th Century’ and this is usually taken to refer to his Pythagorean belief that number is at the root of everything. But it could equally well refer to the Orphic strain in Greek culture, which aimed at revelation through ecstatic abandon. Xenakis had a deep affinity with this world-view. He often said there are two ways to enlightenment, one he called ‘rational’, the other he described as ‘revelatory’. It’s hard to know what is meant by this. But the examples he gives show that revelation may come from astonishing sights or sounds in nature or from violent collective emotion. These tear away the veil of habit from the world, and reveal that, at the root, chaos and order are not the opposites we think they are – they are reflections of each other. “
(all taken from Ivan Hewett, critic and broadcaster – introduction to Barbican Immersion days – Xenakis. 2009)