Hundreds attended the world première of METANOIA, an electronic opera by composer Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta, dedicated to “the end of the idea of war”, performed at the Monastery of Batalha, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Portugal. The event took place on November 19, 2018 commemorating the one hundred year anniversary of the end of World War I. METANOIA includes text by the legendary Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa and performances by British cellist Audrey Riley and French soprano Laetitia Grimaldi that incorporate chance operations, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
Streaming Museum is featuring a special version of METANOIA and imagery of the Monastery of Batalha here at StreamingMuseum.org, and in the future at international public spaces and other venues. Locations and dates will be announced.
Founded by Nina Colosi in 2008 in New York City, Streaming Museum has produced and presented exhibitions and programs that have reached millions on 7 continents in public spaces, at cultural and commercial centers, and StreamingMuseum.org. The Museum brings a worldview into focus through the arts and its interconnections to international affairs and cultures, the sciences, technology, the future, and more.
“It is particularly significant that Emanuel Pimenta’s METANOIA, which reflects on the idea of the end of war, is premiering during the 50th anniversary of Earthrise – the awesome first photograph of earth from space,” Colosi explained. “The seeds of global peace and comprehension of society’s interdependence are best planted through the arts, and METANOIA and the Batalha Monastary represent this vision.”
METANOIA, a video version for web and exhibition
METANOIA invokes a zen-like dream state through its mesmerizing music and film that blends historic art, century-old cinema from the time of the end of WWI, and portraits by Pimenta of over 300 personalities with whom he has collaborated over forty years. This includes iconic pioneers in the arts such as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Ornette Coleman, Mario Merz, René Berger, Lucrezia De Domizio-Baroness Durini, Phill Niblock, Maria Bonomi, William Anastasi, Dove Bradshaw, Marcia Grostein and many others.
Pimenta performed the electronic opera with cellist Audrey Riley and soprano Laeticia Grimaldi, augmented with chance operations, artificial intelligence and Virtual Reality, and text by the legendary Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.
A Unesco World Heritage Site, a monument to world peace, one of the most visited places in Portugal
Joaquim Ruivo, Director of the Monastery of Batalha, in Portugal, invited Emanuel Pimenta to create a work for their celebrations of the hundred years of the end of World War I in 1918. The impressive architecture has special meaning to Pimenta. He had visited often as a child with his parents and grandparents, and it has influenced his work as an architect and artist.
Batalha has a powerful history. Portugal and Spain were at war in the 14th century – the War of Aljubarrota, named after the location of the battlefield in an open field where today the surrounding land is still sparsely developed.
At that time, Portugal had the support of England and an army of about 7,000 soldiers. Spain had the support of France and Italy and an army of 24,000 soldiers. But Portugal also had a brilliant strategist, Nuno Álvares Pereira. He won all the battles he commanded and is considered one of the most important strategists in history. Even the Portuguese royal family–the king and queen, princesses and princes, and others, fought as soldiers. Surprisingly, Portugal won, and the King, D. John the 1st, immediately in 1385, ordered the construction of a building in the center of the battle field as a celebration of peace. It was designed by the architect Afonso Domingues.
Portugal had been founded in 1143, 243 years before the battle, but it was the War of Aljubarrota that consolidated its independence and ended the ongoing threats from Spain. The building was a symbol of peace and since then Portugal and Spain have never been at war.
Among many curious characteristics of the building is its flat dome. When Afonso Domingues presented his drawings no one believed that it would be possible. People were sure that it would collapse, but to prove that it was safe, he lived under the dome for more than a year. The dome, which is one of the most notable examples of Gothic architecture, is still intact even though Portugal is a seismic country. Nothing like it has been built in the past six hundred years.
Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta (b.1957) is a Brazilian-Portuguese resident of Switzerland. He is a composer, architect, urban planner, photographer and writer. Since the early 1980s he has been researching and publishing on neuroaesthetics, neurology and space time cognition, music, architecture, aesthetics and philosophy.
Pimenta has published more than 80 books in several countries, created more than 200 compositions, 50 cds, has exhibited internationally, and his works have been included in Britannica Encyclopedia since 1991. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science among many other institutions, and received the gold medal of the Academy of Arts, Sciences and Letters of Paris in 2017.
In the 1970s Pimenta began developing four-dimensional music notations inside VR, including AI. In 1980 he coined the concept of “virtual architecture”, creating the first virtual planet of the world, anticipating Second Life by more than twenty years for which he received an AICA, UNESCO and Council of Europe Prize in 1994. Between 1987 and 1996 he was one of the coordinators of the first video art and electronic art festivals in the world, together with René Berger, Nan June Paik, Francis Ford Coppola, Bill Viola, Pierre Restany and Edgar Morin among others in Locarno, Switzerland. He worked with John Cage, and was a commissioned composer for Merce Cunningham during Cage’s seven last years of life, continuing to work with Cunningham over more than thirty years. He lives between Locarno, New York and Lisbon and his website – started in 1993 is emanuelpimenta.net Full bio here