Tuesday, April 16, 2019


The Xenakis-Emulator is an audiovisual adaptation of two key works of architect/composer Iannis Xenakis - the composition “Metastasseis” and the facade for the monastery “La Tourette” by master architect Le Corbusier. We created a synergetic digital animation of an interpretation of the facade and the music composition. The facade strips, which reflect the “Glissando”-motif of “Metastasseis”, float in an abstract space, followed by a vertical strip that “plays” our music interpretation in realtime and synchronous with the vertical facade elements.

Iannis Xenakis was born in Romania in 1922. His family returned to Greece in 1932. He studied architecture and math and became a resistance fighter, fleeing from Greece to France in 1947, where he worked in the office of Le Corbusier. He was a student of Olivier Messiaen, and as first composer within New Music, he used mathematical probability in composition, becoming the inventor of stochastic music. Xenakis composed pieces for orchestra, scenic works for chorals, ballet music, and radio pieces.

Working in the office of Le Corbusier, Xenakis collaborated on the monastery La Tourette from 1953-1955, developing the design and the placement of the vertical elements for the strip windows on the western facade of the building. The motif of “decreasing-increasing” of intervals of the vertical posts is derived from the composition “Metastassis”, on which Xenakis worked at the time as well. Metastassis for orchestra is defined by the extraordinary and debut implementation of glissandi within a composition. The glissando – the sliding movement within the tonal scale, for instance with a string instrument – is the defining motif of both the composition and the facade design for the monastery La Tourette. This connection is interpreted within an adaptation of both works.

Measurement of the facade division results in the definition of a system consisting of 48 intervals that comprise the increasing-decreasing appearance of the facade. These intervals can be interpreted as the 1st to 48th factor of a smallest common interval. Beyond that, minima and maxima can be identified, meaning points of largest and lowest density in the facade system, as well as the distances between them.

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