I recently paid a visit to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, London to see Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, a long-time friend with whom I have a mutual connection: we both worked closely with the late James Lee Byars, the conceptual artist who, in 1971, implemented “The World Question Center” as a work of conceptual art.
I was delighted to find the walls of Obrist’s office covered with single pages of size A4 paper on which artists, writers, scientists had responded to his question: “What Is Your Formula?” Among the pieces were formulas by quantum physicist David Deutsch, artist and musician Brian Eno, architect Rem Koolhaas, and fractal mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot.
Within minutes we had hatched an Edge-Serpentine collaboration for a World Question Center project, which would further the reach of Obrist’s question by asking for responses from the science-minded Edge community, thus complementing the rich array of formulas already assembled from distinguished artists such as Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Gilbert & George, and Rosemarie Trockel.
For the purposes of this collaboration, the question was been broadened to:
“WHAT IS YOUR FORMULA? YOUR EQUATION? YOUR ALGORITHM?”