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Conference - Symmetry, Proportion and Seriality: The Semantics of Mirroring and Repetition in Science and the Arts

Plakat Academia Europaea

Symmetry, Proportion and Seriality: The Semantics of Mirroring and Repitition in Science and the Arts

International Conference of the Academia Europaea

University of Freiburg, May 26-28, 2016

FRIAS, Albertstr. 19

When May 26, 2016 12:00 AM to
May 28, 2016 12:00 AM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Attendees nach Anmeldung / only with registration
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Symmetry is one of the key factors in a variety of sciences and humanities subjects. Equations must be symmetrical; in architecture symmetry is a basic design feature; linguists discover iconic and symmetrical relationships in their objects of study; in chemistry and physics symmetrical and asymmetrical designs play an important role; in music and all the arts symmetry is often considered the basis of aesthetic quality. There are also several types of symmetry that one might want to distinguish. Symmetry can be set off against, but also paired with, two other features that play a similar role in the sciences and the arts: proportion and seriality. Exact symmetry in some instances is too neat, too boring, or simply not possible, yet a set of proportional relationships may be deemed crucial to a particular effect. Proportion can thus be regarded as a more general framework that allows one to set items in relationships to one another, with symmetry being the most perfect of these relationships. The visual arts, especially film and dance, employ proportion and symmetry as kinetic rather than merely static modes. As regards seriality, it is a recursive application of symmetry and repetition, but also a type of design that operates dynamically rather than statically. Besides its obvious relevance to the arts in experiments in seriality in (post)modernist painting, music and literature, seriality plays a central role in mathematics and physics.

The high-profile speakers at this conference come from a wide range of discipline and they share a commitment to cross-disciplinary dialogue. They will compare concepts of symmetry, proportion and seriality across the humanities-sciences divide; they will explore the historical dimensions and changes in taste that affect the understanding of these terms and concepts; they will discuss them as culture-specific phenomena, comparing ideas of symmetry and proportion across different global cultures; finally, they will explore why it is that symmetry is so important to our minds and our language, indeed to the design of our bodies and brains.

The conference is organized into three sections, each starting off with a plenary lecture and extended plenary discussions between speakers from different disciplines. Speakers at this conference include scholars from the fields of musicology, theoretical physics, literary studies, art history, neuroscience, and theatre and performance studies.

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