Thinking Machines. Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria. EPFL Artlab Lausanne


EPFL ArtLab’s Thinking Machines. Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria, is a bold exhibition that draws together scholarly, scientific and artistic modes of enquiry. Through it, we reread the late Middle Ages in the works of Ramon Llull, the outstanding Catalan philosopher and theologian, to explore the ramifications of his thinking in the realms of modern and contemporary art, and computation. The reverberations of Llullian thought on technology, art and culture find their present-day corollary in a pedagogical revolution which has ‘computational thinking’ at its core.

This four-month exhibition proposes fresh perspectives on contemporary technologies and their development through the ages under the influence of both art and science. The exhibition offers a space in which visitors can reflect on the significance of Llullian combinatorics for generative and algorithmic principles which are now developed in advanced technologies. Thinking Machines likewise raises ethical questions on the accumulation and transfer of knowledge through intelligent systems.

The exhibition is organized by the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, in collaboration with the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona – CCCB and EPFL | École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. Curated by Amador Vega (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), Peter Weibel (ZKM | Karlsruhe), and Siegfried Zielinski (UdK, Berlin University of the Arts), Thinking Machines is realized at EPFL under the leadership of ArtLab director: Sarah Kenderdine.

Specifically designed to be encountered through either of its two opposite entrances in the Pavilion B of EPFL’s ArtLab, the exhibition offers visitors a non-linear curatorial assemblage that can be approached bidirectionally. The four primary themes of this exhibition are: Inside Thinking MachinesVariantologyPoetics of Knowledge, and Towards Computational Thinking.

Contemporary artists and thinkers are in interactive dialogue with the great work of Ramon Llull. He was a nomad moving extensively across the world around the Mediterranean Sea, in the same way as his ideas were to travel, be rediscovered and echoed across time.

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Thinking Machines. Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria, EPFL ArtLab Lausanne, 03.11.2018 – 10.03.2019.