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Observe and Listen to the Music of the Spheres in This Platonic Installation


An artist, a musician and a team of astrophysicists have recreated one of the fundamental metaphors of Western thought in a fascinating work of art.

In Timaeus, Plato describes the creation of the universe and the movement of the stars, whose orbits create sonic waves: the music of the spheres comes from the sky seen as an infinite musical organ that is played at random from the beginning of time. Based on that Platonic premise, the artist Guillaume Marmin and the musician tried to represent that sensation musically and visually, giving rise to Timée.

Working with the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, Marmin and Gordiani created a sphere whose material properties reproduce the symbolic story from Timaeus of the Platonic “dialogs” with amazing simplicity: a light shines through a wooden wall perforated with 300 holes.

The light is calibrated to give the sensation of concordance with the music, conjunction that results in fascinating patterns that reproduce the chaotic nature of the cosmos: collisions of stars, black holes converting into supernovas and returning to the glow of original darkness.

The pattern is repeated every 12 minutes, which is a straight metaphor for the history of the universe – at least from the point of view of an installation that, with minimal resources, manages to recreate the imagined conditions of the universe: What has the universe been, since Plato’s time to the present day, but the imaginings and the hypotheses that we have dreamed up over time regarding its mysterious and fascinating behavior?

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