November 4, 2007 § Leave a comment


What do galaxies, grapes, soil food webs, Zen ensos and dance troupes have in common? They are all patterns made of interacting parts. Tonight environmental scientist (and patternologist) Tyler Volk of NYU explores the nature of patterns in nature, culture, and the rest of the universe, and asks if there could be a science of everything based on patterns. His thoughts spin on the complementarity between patterns and their functions, for remarkable convergences are born when the forms that are woven by diverse scales of nature and culture (and even our minds) share common roles.

And, you ask, what more quintessential patterns of culture are there than dance and music? When Claude Debussy chastised Erik Satie, remarking that the eccentric composer ought to “soigner sa forme”–pay better attention to form–Satie replied, not in words, but in music. His riposte is the “Three Pieces in the Form of a Pear,” a short suite for piano four-hands whose witty irony (not without a touch of sarcasm) is already signaled by the fact that the music consists not of three pieces, but seven.

Choreographer Christopher Caines, together with members of his dance company, presents excerpts from a new work in progress (specially arranged for the Cornelia Street Café) exploring this pivotal score in Satie’s oeuvre. Caines, a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, should prove the ideal choreographer to illuminate questions of structure, form, and pattern in the relation of dance to music.


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