Kein Licht, a radioactive opera?

08 October 2017

As an introduction to the Kein Licht performances, a cycle of scientific mini-lectures, arts & sciences installations and events offered by the EHESS, Université PSL and the CNRS.

The presentation (“avant-spectacle”) offered prior to the opera is a spacetime in which the audience is invited to ask questions driven by their desires and expectations. It is a special moment that enables us to grasp the operatic work we are going to attend through its historical, musical and philosophical backdrop.

Through all the issues it raises, the opera Kein Licht offers to envision another format, mobilizing our scientific and mathematical culture as well as our perception of chance.

Extreme climatic event, nuclear accident, contemporary addiction to technology, rise of populism: the themes addressed by Kein Licht seem explosive at first sight or at least dramatic in the sense of the Classical Greek word drama which means “theatrical) action”. Onstage, the drama of a technology pushed to the extreme whose chain reactions seem to escape man’s control until they develop a form of autonomy. Beyond Philippe Manoury’s previous interrogations over interpretive randomness and real time, the music of Kein Licht questions indeterminacy, the music itself turned into a stochastic process of a type called Markov chain by probabilists, whose random transitions mirror atomic and particulate shocks inside the reactor.

Karine Le Bail


7.15 to 7.25 pm

- Reception of the public and presentation of Kein Licht by dramaturge Agnès Terrier
- Beginning of the tea ceremony
- Presentation of the event “La vie est une vapeur… et puis rien” (Life is a vapor… and then nothing), by physicist-visual artist Dominique Peysson and visual artist Olivier Goulet, invited guests and the theme of his lecture by Karine Le Bail

7.25 to 7.35 pm

- Scientific mini-lectures
18 October: Greg Beller, researcher and musical computing specialist at IRCAM and artistic director of the Synekine company. Research themes: emotions and expressivity, the voice and gesture, and sound creation in the performing arts.

19 October: Olivier Evrard, researcher at the CEA and at the CNRS, specializing in radioactive erosion and pollution of soils in the wake of a nuclear accident such as that of Fukushima.

21 October: Sylvain David, researcher at the CNRS and at the Institut de Physique Nucléaire d’Orsay, specializing in physics of nuclear reactors. Research themes: nuclear energy of the future, physics of the regeneration and transmutation of waste, studies of associated scenarios.

22 October: Philippe Bousquet, professor at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and researcher at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, specializing in the carbon cycle in the Earth’s climate system and in extreme climatic events.

7.35 to 7.55 pm

- “La vie est une vapeur… et puis rien” by Dominique Peysson and Olivier Goulet
- Questions from the public

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