Penn Humanities Forum Undergraduate Fellow
2013—2014 Forum on Violence
CAS, 2014; Architecture; Music
Brutalism as a Means for Performance: The Warring Nature of Spatial Design and Musical Composition as Envisioned by Iannis Xenakis
The early life of Iannis Xenakis, a modern day Renaissance scholar who would come to redefine the limits of musical composition and sound-driven spatial design in the 21st century, was overshadowed by adversity, conflict and alienation. Fleeing from his home country in 1947 after a nearly fatal wound to the face during the Greek Revolution, Xenakis' newfound life and career in the atelier of French architect Le Corbusier allowed for the budding engineer to explore a collective passion for music and mathematics within his work. Nevertheless, just as a giant facial scar would stand as a permanent physical symbol for the brutality Xenakis experienced, one can easily detect similar memories of a chaotic past embedded in the compositional framework of the avant-garde designer/composer, tormented by tension and estranged symbols of war. By analyzing these immersive elements of conflict and duality which characterized Xenakis' creative methodologies, one may begin to formulate an innovative discourse in the development towards new experiential musically influenced performance spaces.