Scott Benzel

Mathesis and Mathematikoi, 2017
movement/performance/sound piece for string quartet, anvil, dancers, and telescope operator
Exhibition location: 100-inch Hooker Telescope Dome
Photo credit: Eden Batki
Video: Molly Fitzjjarald

Mathesis and Mathematikoi is a movement/performance/sound piece performed on the rotating interior deck of the dome of the 100-inch Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory. The roots of piece are in the landmark astronomical and cosmological work of Edwin Hubble, which took place in the Hooker telescope, the proto-scientific philosophy of the Mathematikoi- an offshoot Pythagorean sect, and the philosophically-inspired dance work of Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, and others at the Judson Dance Theater.

Hubble’s work marked a profound revolution in cosmology, radically altering human understanding of the size of the universe. His elaboration of recessional velocity- calculating interstellar distance from the red-shifting of stars- lead to the theory of the expanding universe.

The schismatic sect the Mathematikoi split from the mystical Acousmatikoi and, following Pythagoras’ quadrivium, aligned music with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, becoming precursors to modern science.

The music and dance were composed mathematically, employing recessional, recursive, geometric, and generative algorithms, and Hubble's Constant.

Eric km Clark; violin
Orin Hildestad; violin
Natalie Brejcha; viola
Jennifer Bewerse; cello
Scott Benzel; anvil
Tasheena Medina; dance
Olivia Mia Orozco; dance
Kenneth Maloloy; dance

Cassia Streb; musician contracting, additional production
Allison Wyper; dance contracting
Jennifer Bewerse; score conforming

Scott Benzel was born in Scottsdale, AZ and lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been shown or performed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum Of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, LA><ART, Los Angeles, The MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, The Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and was featured in Made in LA 2012, the first Los Angeles Biennial, at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Benzel has curated shows at the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture (Schindler House), Los Angeles and the Welcome Inn, Eagle Rock, CA, as part of Pacific Standard Time organized by the Getty Museum, among others.