Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Music to be seen. The Diatope (1978) by Iannis Xenakis
Eleni Michaelidi
2nd Author
3rd Author
MA Media Art Histories
Number of Pages
Donau Universitaet Krems, Austria
Thesis Supervisor
Prof. Dimitris Charitos (external supervisor, University of Athens, Greece)
Supervisor e-mail
vedesign AT
Other Supervisor(s)
"Prof. Oliver Grau (Donau Universitaet Krems, Austria)
Language(s) of Thesis
English (Abstract in German also available)
Department / Discipline
Department of Image Science (Bildwissenschaft)
Languages Familiar to Author
Greek, English, German, French
URL where full thesis can be found
art & technology, visual music, audiovisual performance, digital art, installation, media art histories
Abstract: 200-500 words
Iannis Xenakis, one of the most influential composers of the second half of the 20th century, created a series of audiovisual installations known as the Polytopes, from 1968 to 1978. The Diatope was the last, and arguably the most ambitious realization in the series of the Polytopes. The title of the thesis, "Music to be seen", is derived from a text by Xenakis (1982b), describing the visual spectacle and his approach to “composing with light. The Diatope was dismantled and ultimately destroyed shortly after its two presentations in 1978 and 1979. Today only the music component, the electroacoustic piece La Légende d’Eer survives intact. Our aim is to research the Diatope as an installation consisting equally of all media employed - music,light,and architecture - in the context of Xenakis’ quest for an art that develops in space and time. With the Polytopes, Xenakis articulated his coherent vision of a “synergy of art and technology”; however, these works have not yet been included in (media) art historical narratives. We therefore seek to critically examine and re-contextualize the Diatope from a (media) art historical perspective, examining the ways in which acoustic and visual spaces were negotiated within it.