Ramon Llull, Ars compendiosa inueniendi ueritatem,
14th cent., manuscript on parchment.
© Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cologny and e-codices
Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland
ArtLab symposium will combine culture, computation and creativity
An international symposium invites participants to discover the birth of computational thinking – and its impact on writing, art, and the preservation of cultural heritage – through the work of 13th century philosopher and mathematician Ramon Llull.
Giulia Bini, ArtLab
The symposium, entitled “Thinking Machines – Machine Thinking”, will be hosted by the College of Humanities (CDH) and ArtLab, which is currently home to the four-month exhibition, Thinking Machines: Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria.
The daylong event will also showcase the launch of the publication DIA-LOGOS: Ramon Llull’s Method of Thought and Artistic Practice; a project initiated by the ZKM Karlsruhe and published by Minnesota Press with support from EPFL. In this book, international experts address lullism as a remarkable and distinctive method of thinking and experimenting. Ars combinatoria, the permutative generation of texts, and the epistemic and poetic power of algorithmic systems are all part of the theory of combination, which appeared in Llull’s work very early in the history of science, technology, and art.
With the participation of outstanding scholars, including Warburg Institute Director Bill Sherman, as well as book editors and exhibition co-curators Amador Vega and Siegfried Zielinski, the symposium will offer a platform for attendees to explore the interdisciplinary reverberations of Llull’s work.
Participants will be introduced to the broad scope of Ramon Llull’s impact, and the importance of his investigations for the fields of media theory and computation. At the same time, expert speakers will illuminate and address key issues that have emerged in the wake of the Thinking Machines exhibition, such as the challenge of preserving cultural heritage in complex geo-political circumstances.
Lectures and guided tours
The morning session of the symposium will be dedicated to analyses of lull’s academic life, and to the legacy of his combinatorial system in the minds and practice of contemporary creators. The afternoon will offer new perspectives on the history of computers, drawing connections between the Renaissance invention of printing and the modern science of encryption.
The final session of the event will see Macarios Jabbour, Executive Director of the Maronite Library of Aleppo, Syria, bring his expertise to the discussion as he raises awareness of endangered written heritage in conflict zones, and the need to secure such textual memory. Guided tours through the exhibition and the launch of the book will offer a dynamic platform for intercultural and institutional exchange.
Thinking Machines – Machine Thinking
Book Launch and Symposium
14 February 2019
09:00 am – 6.00 pm
Online registration (free of charge): go.epfl.ch/bwR
This symposium is organized by the EPFL CDH and the EPFL ArtLab under the direction of Prof. Béla Kapossy and Prof. Sarah Kenderdine. The publication DIA-LOGOS: Ramon Llull’s Method of Thought and Artistic Practice was generously supported by Ernst von Siemens Stiftung. It was initiated by the ZKM Karlsruhe and published by Minnesota Press with support from EPFL.