Transcript: Arthur I. Miller on Einstein and Picasso | Feb 18, 2006

A book cover reads "Einstein. Picasso." It shows their pictures as young men.

Arthur says TONIGHT I'M GOING TO
DISCUSS THE 20th CENTURY'S MOST
IMPORTANT SCIENTIST, ALBERT
EINSTEIN, AND ITS MOST IMPORTANT
ARTIST, PABLO PICASSO.

Arthur Miller stands behind a black lectern on a colourful stage that reads "Perimeter Institute" giving a talk. He’s in his late-forties, clean-shaven with short hair. He’s wearing glasses, a black jacket and a matching open-necked shirt.

He continues I'VE ALWAYS FOUND IT INTRIGUING
THAT THEY MADE THEIR FIRST AND
PERHAPS PROBABLY GREATEST
BREAKTHROUGHS AT ABOUT THE SAME
TIME.
IN 1905, EINSTEIN DISCOVERED
SPECIAL RELATIVITY, AND IN 1907,
PICASSO DISCOVERED
LES
DEMOISELLES D'AVIGNON.
NOW, WHAT IMMEDIATELY COMES TO
MIND IS WHETHER THIS WAS
SERENDIPITOUS OR NOT, AND I
FOUND THAT THE BEST WAY TO
INVESTIGATE THE SITUATION WAS
WITH PARALLEL BIOGRAPHIES.
THE FIRST DECADE OF THE
20th CENTURY WAS THE MOST
CREATIVE PERIOD FOR EINSTEIN AND
PICASSO.
IT WAS AN EXCITING MOMENT IN
WESTERN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY
AKIN TO THE RENAISSANCE SOME
500 YEARS EARLIER.
CHANGE WAS IN THE AIR.
REBELS AGAINST ACADEMIC AND
BOURGEOIS CONVENTIONS CONSIDERED
THEMSELVES TO BE PART OF THE
AVANT-GARDE, THAT INTELLECTUAL
TSUNAMI THAT WAS SWEEPING OVER
EUROPE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Arthur I. Miller. Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of College London."

Arthur continues TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
WAS BEING QUESTIONED IN ART,
MUSIC, LITERATURE, ARCHITECTURE,
AND IN PHYSICS, THAT IS TO SAY,
CLASSICAL INTUITIVE WAYS OF
UNDERSTANDING SPACE AND TIME.

The caption changes to "Einstein and Picasso: Space, Time and the Beauty that Causes Havoc. Perimeter Institute. October 17, 2005."

He continues PICASSO AND EINSTEIN
WERE SWEPT ALONG.
AT THAT TIME...
AND WE'RE NOT TO DISTINGUISH
ELDERLY FIGURES THAT WE'VE COME
TO KNOW, EINSTEIN LOOKING LIKE
HE WITNESSED THE CREATION ITSELF
AND PICASSO WITH HIS USUAL
PHOTOGENIC SENSE.

Arthur runs a PowerPoint presentation. Two black and white pictures of Einstein and Picasso appear on split screens.

The audience laughs.

He continues RATHER, THEY WERE IN
THEIR 20s.
THEY WERE UNKNOWN, FEISTY,
DIRT-POOR AND PRONE TO GETTING
INTO TROUBLE.
LET ME BEGIN BY LOOKING AT BOTH
MEN'S "ANNUS MIRABILIS."
IN 1905, EINSTEIN WAS AN
ABSOLUTE CYPHER.
IT WAS ONLY THROUGH THE
INFLUENCE OF A FRIEND'S FATHER
THAT IN 1902 HE OBTAINED A
POSITION AS PATENT CLERK, THIRD
CLASS PROVISIONAL, IN THE SWISS
FEDERAL PATENT OFFICE IN BERN,
SWITZERLAND, AN INTELLECTUAL
BACKWATER.

A slide reads "Young Einstein. The kind of male beauty that caused such havoc."

Arthur continues THERE EINSTEIN WORKED SIX DAYS A
WEEK, EIGHT HOURS A DAY.
THE FOLLOWING YEAR, IN 1903, HE
MARRIED HIS UNIVERSITY
SWEETHEART, MILEVA MARIC, WITH
WHOM HE HAD HAD A PASSIONATE
LOVE AFFAIR.
THEY WERE SOULMATES.
THEY LIVED THE LIVES OF YOUNG
GERMAN (Unclear word) BOHEMIANS,
BUT BY THE TIME THEY WERE
MARRIED, MILEVA LIVED IN THE
SHADOW OF HER HUSBAND, AND
ALBERT'S INTEREST IN HER BEGAN
TO WANE.

A black and white picture of a young Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric appears.

Arthur continues IN 1903, THEY MOVED INTO A SMALL
FLAT IN THE CITY CENTRE OF BERN,
AND HERE IS A TABLE AT WHICH
EINSTEIN MAY WELL HAVE WRITTEN
PART OF THE RELATIVITY PAPER AND
OF COURSE A CLOCK IN THE
BACKGROUND.
THE FOLLOWING YEAR, THEIR FIRST,
THEIR SON, HANS ALBERT, WAS BORN
AND MONETARY PROBLEMS ENTERED,
AND SO IT IS NO WONDER THAT
ALONG WITH MONETARY AND MARITAL
PROBLEMS ON HIS MIND, EINSTEIN
RECALLED THAT IT WAS AT THE
PATENT OFFICE WHERE HE DID HIS
BEST CREATIVE WORK.
THE PATENT OFFICE WAS HIS
SECULAR CLOISTER, THE CLOSEST HE
EVER CAME TO HEAVEN ON EARTH,
AND EINSTEIN'S BERN PERIOD IN
1909 WAS THE MOST CREATIVE OF
HIS LIFE.
FOR INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION HE
HAD A STUDY GROUP, THE CORE OF
WHICH WAS EINSTEIN AND TWO OF
HIS PALS, CONRAD HABICHT AND
MAURICE SOLOVINE.
THEY CALLED THEMSELVES NOTHING
LESS THAN THE OLYMPIA ACADEMY
AND TOOK ALL KNOWLEDGE AS THEIR
PROVINCE.
EINSTEIN ALSO HAD FRIENDS IN THE
PATENT OFFICE AS WELL AS IN THE
FEDERAL POSTAL AND TELEGRAPH
ADMINISTRATION, WHICH OCCUPIED
THE LOWER FLOORS OF THE
BUILDING.
NOW, BY 1905, EINSTEIN FOCUSSED
ON THE NATURE OF LIGHT AS HIS
PRINCIPAL RESEARCH PROBLEM, BUT
SO DID JUST ABOUT EVERY OTHER
PHYSICIST WORKING ON THE
FRONTIER OF THIS SUBJECT.

People in the audience listen carefully.

Arthur continues WHAT SEPARATED EINSTEIN FROM
THEM?
INDEED, EVEN IN RETROSPECT,
THERE WAS NOTHING TO WARN US
ABOUT WHAT FOR THE
INTELLECTUAL...
TO ALERT US TO THE INTELLECTUAL
OUTBURST THAT OCCURRED IN 1905.

A new slide reads "Young Picasso. A good-looking bootblack."

Arthur continues ON THE OTHER HAND, ALMOST
IMMEDIATELY PICASSO'S ARTISTIC
TALENT WAS RECOGNIZED, BUT IN
THE BEGINNING OF 1904, WHEN HE
STARTED HIS PERMANENT STUDY IN
PARIS, HIS GOOD FRIENDS WERE NOT
YOUNG ARTISTS BUT RATHER YOUNG
LITERARY, NEW WAVE WRITERS
SUCH AS ANDRE SALMON, MAURICE
JACOB AND GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE.
THEY RECOGNIZED PICASSO'S
CREATIVE FORCE.
THESE MEN FORMED THE CORE OF
PICASSO'S THINK-TANK, AND THEY
CALLED THEMSELVES
LA BANDE A
PICASSO.
LIKE THE OLYMPIA ACADEMY, THEY
WERE DIRT-POOR BUT FULL OF
YOUTHFUL ENTHUSIASM AND THEY
SHARED LITERALLY EVERYTHING.
THEY HAD NOTHING TO LOSE.
PICASSO'S ATELIER WAS IN A
RAMSHACKLE BUILDING ON THE BUTTE
OR HILL IN MONTMARTRE.
JACOB AFFECTIONATELY DUBBED IT
LE BATEAU-LAVOIR
AFTER
THE LAUNDRY BOATS THAT LINE THE
SEINE.

Two old photographs show tree young men and a shabby building.

Arthur continues PICASSO'S
LE BATEAU-
LAVOIR PERIOD, 1904 TO 1909,
WAS THE MOST CREATIVE OF HIS
LIFE.
FOR HIS MONEY, PICASSO GOT
NOTHING MORE THAN FOUR DINGY
WALLS, INSIDE OF WHICH HE FROZE
IN THE WINTER AND ROASTED IN THE
SUMMER.
HERE HE IS ON PLACE RAVIGNAN,
RIGHT OUTSIDE OF
LE BATEAU-LAVOIR.
EVERYONE COMPLAINED ABOUT THE
SITUATION, BUT PICASSO WORKED IT
TO HIS ADVANTAGE, MEETING NEW
MALE FRIENDS AND LOTS OF FEMALE
FRIENDS, TOO, IN PARTICULAR,
FERNANDE OLIVIER, THE FIRST
GREAT LOVE OF HIS LIFE.
FERNANDE HAD AN AIR OF LIGHTNESS
AND ELEGANCE ABOUT HER, A
CURIOUS MIND.
SHE HAD GREAT DETERMINATION AND
ALSO SOME ARTISTIC TALENT AS
WELL.
WITH A MASS OF AUBURN HAIR AND
GREEN ALMOND-SHAPED EYES AND A
VOLUPTUOUS BODY, SHE WAS CAPABLE
OF MORE THAN PLAYFUL FLIRTATIONS
AND OF TURNING HEADS.
HERE OF MANY FERNANDES IS THE
PAINTING "THE HAREM," WHICH
PICASSO DID IN THE SUMMER OF
1906 IN GOSOL.
NOW, FOR THE FIRST
YEAR OR SO OF THEIR
RELATIONSHIP, THAT IS, UNTIL
FROM, SAY, THE SPRING OF 1905 TO
THE END OF 1906, SHE PLAYED THE
PART OF PICASSO'S MUSE, BUT SOON
AFTER THAT, SHE COULD, HER ROLE,
COULD BE CHARITABLY DESCRIBED AS
PROVIDING NEGATIVE
REINFORCEMENT.
THAT'S TO SAY PICASSO
SUCCEEDED DESPITE HER.
THEY HAD A TYPICALLY TEMPESTUOUS
MONTMARTRE RELATIONSHIP.
NOW, OTHER ARTISTS HAD
RELATIONSHIPS OF THAT SORT AND
SUFFERED THE POVERTY THAT WAS
RAMPANT IN MONTMARTRE.
THEN WHAT SEPARATED PICASSO FROM
THEM, IN PARTICULAR FROM ANDRE
DERAIN, WHO WAS HENRI MATISSE'S
FAVOURITE PUPIL?
EVERYONE THOUGHT THAT IT WOULD
BE THAT DERAIN WOULD MAKE THE
BREAKTHROUGH TO A HIGHLY
CONCEPTUAL AND RADICALLY NEW
STYLE OF ART.

A painting in pastel colours of a man wearing a moustache appears.

Arthur continues DURING MARCH TO JUNE OF 1905,
EINSTEIN MOVED TO A NEW
CONCEPTUAL STYLE, ONE BASED TO
SOME DEGREE ON A NEW NOTION OF
AESTHETICS.
AT EIGHT-WEEK INTERVALS,
STARTING IN MARCH OF 1905,
WORKING ON WHITE HEAT, HE
PRODUCED THREE PAPERS THAT
CHANGED THE COURSE OF SCIENCE
AND THE COURSE OF NATIONS.
AND CENTRAL TO EINSTEIN, ONE OF
THEM WAS THE RELATIVITY PAPER.

The slide changes to "Einstein’s aesthetic discontents."

Arthur continues NOW, CENTRAL TO EINSTEIN'S
REASONING IN THE RELATIVITY
PAPER WAS A NEW NOTION OF
AESTHETICS, WHICH HE HAD TRIED
OUT IN THE FIRST PAPER OF THAT
SERIES.
ALL THREE PAPERS WERE PUBLISHED
IN THE SAME VOLUME OF THE GERMAN
PHYSICS JOURNAL, THE
ANNALEN DER PHYSIK.
IN THAT FIRST PAPER, EINSTEIN
EXPLORED THE NATURE OF LIGHT,
AND HE BEGAN THE PAPER STRAIGHT
AWAY BY SAYING THAT SCIENTISTS
MADE AN UNWARRANTED PROFOUND
FORMAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN WAVES
AND PARTICLES.
WHY HAVE BOTH WAVES AND
PARTICLES WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING AT
CERTAIN PHENOMENA?
WHY NOT HAVE JUST PARTICLES OF
ELECTRONS AND PARTICLES OF
LIGHT?
EINSTEIN USED THIS MINIMALIST
AESTHETIC TO GREAT EFFECT IN HIS
DISCOVERY OF RELATIVITY THEORY.
NOW, WHAT I HAVE IN MIND HERE IS
HIS CONSIDERATION OF HOW
ELECTRICAL DYNAMOS WORK.
NOW, EINSTEIN HAD EXTENSIVE
EXPERIENCE WITH ELECTRICAL
DYNAMOS.
HE ASSESSED PATENTS ON THEM
WHILE WORKING AT THE PATENT
OFFICE.
NOW, WHAT DO BEHEMOTHS OF THIS
SORT...
THIS IS A DYNAMO AROUND 1905.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH
RELATIVITY THEORY?
WELL, A LOT.
ELECTRICAL DYNAMOS, WHICH ARE
THE BASIS OF THE SECOND
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, PRODUCED
THE POWER THAT LIT UP THE NIGHT.

A wall screen at the top of the stage shows the drawing of two human figures standing on different levels.

Arthur continues SO PEOPLE KNEW THEY WORKED, BUT
THEY WEREN'T QUITE SURE ABOUT
HOW THEY WORKED.
THEY ARE BASED ON A PHENOMENON
KNOWN AS ELECTROMAGNETIC
INDUCTION, IN WHICH A CURRENT IS
PRODUCED IN A WIRE THAT'S IN
RELATIVE MOTION WITH RESPECT TO
A MAGNET.
NOW, ACCORDING TO
ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY AS IT WAS
INTERPRETED IN 1905, IF YOU ASK
THIS OBSERVER HOW THE CURRENT
WAS PRODUCED AND THIS OBSERVER
HOW THE CURRENT WAS PRODUCED,
YOU'D GET TWO RADICALLY
DIFFERENT EXPLANATIONS, BUT
THAT'S FOR A PHENOMENON WHICH
HAS ONLY ONE MEASURABLE EFFECT,
THAT IS TO SAY, THE CURRENT
GENERATED, WHICH CAN BE TRACED
BACK TO A SINGLE CAUSE, RELATIVE
MOTION.
TO EINSTEIN, THESE
TWO EXPLANATIONS WERE A
REDUNDANCY.
EVEN WORSE, THEY'RE AN
UNAESTHETIC, AND EINSTEIN NOW
FOUND THAT TO BE, IN QUOTES,
"UNBEARABLE."
IT WAS, AS HE WROTE IN A
RELATIVITY PAPER, "AN ASYMMETRY
THAT WAS NOT INHERENT IN THE
PHENOMENON.
RATHER, THERE IS NO REAL
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO
EXPLANATIONS.
IT IS ONLY ONE OF VIEWPOINT.
NEITHER OBSERVER HAS
THE
TRUE EXPLANATION.
IT IS JUST A MATTER OF
PERSPECTIVE, AND THAT'S ALL."
THIS REALIZATION LED
EINSTEIN TO DISCOVER THAT THE
PRINCIPLE OF RELATIVITY, WHICH
WAS A STATEMENT THAT WAS EXACT
IN THE SCIENCE OF MOTION, HAD TO
BE EXACT ALSO IN PHENOMENA
CONCERNING ELECTRICITY,
MAGNETISM AND LIGHT, AND ALL OF
IT IS DUE TO A MINIMALIST
AESTHETIC.
NOW, REASONING ALONG THESE
LINES, EINSTEIN HAD TO MOVE TO
NEW HEIGHTS OF ABSTRACTION, IN
OTHER WORDS, EMPHASIZE
CONCEPTION OVER PERCEPTION.
IN 1905, PICASSO WAS ALSO
BEGINNING TO EXPLORE THE WORLD
IN TERMS OF CONCEPTION OVER
PERCEPTION AND TO LOOK TO NEW
NOTIONS OF AESTHETICS.

The caption changes to "Picasso’s angst."

Arthur continues A FACTOR THAT IMPELLED HIM ALONG
THIS ROUTE WERE NEW WAVE
PAINTINGS PRODUCED BY DEIN.
THESE WERE PAINTINGS THAT PUSHED
CONCEPTUAL ART TO ITS LIMITS AT
THIS TIME.
PAINTERS...
THERE'S "BATHERS" BY DERAIN AND
LE BONHEUR DE VIVRE
BY
HENRI MATISSE.
PICASSO FELT CHALLENGED.
HE FELT HIS OWN WORK PALED IN
COMPARISON.
WHAT ALSO STRUCK YOUNG ARTISTS
WAS AN EXHIBITION OF PRIMITIVE
IBERIAN ART AT THE LOUVRE IN
MAY 1906.
WHAT STRUCK THEM WAS THAT THE
TRIBAL ARTIST DEPICTED WHAT HE
KNEW RATHER THAN WHAT HE SAW.

A slide features the sculpture of a human head.

Arthur continues NOW, PICASSO...
TO PICASSO, THIS REQUIRED SOME
DEEP THOUGHT, AND THE ONLY WAY
HE COULD DO THIS WAS TO LEAVE
PARIS, WITH ALL OF HIS
INTELLECTUAL AND PAINTERLY
PRESSURES AND GOSSIP, TOO.
SO HE TOOK FERNANDE
AND WENT TO THE TOWN OF GOSOL
OUTSIDE OF BARCELONA.
THAT'S WHERE HE DID THE PAINTING
OF THE HAREM.
AND PICASSO STARTED TO PRODUCE
PAINTINGS LIKE "TWO NUDES"...
THIS IS A HIGHLY CONCEPTUALIZED
IBERIAN ART FORM -- AND HIS
"SELF-PORTRAIT WITH PALETTE."
HERE IS A CLENCHED FIST.
HE'S NOW GOING TO CHALLENGE
DERAIN AND MATISSE FOR
LEADERSHIP OF THE AVANT-GARDE.

Slides show the paintings mentioned.

Arthur continues INDEED, AT THIS POINT IN TIME,
PICASSO HAD BEGUN TO TAKE BOXING
LESSONS, TOO.
NOW, WHAT BETTER WAY TO
CHALLENGE THEM THAN WITH THE
MOST UNGENTEEL THEME AVAILABLE,
A BORDELLO SCENE, ONLY WITH THE
VIOLENCE RAPTURED UP TO SHOCKING
HEIGHTS?
PICASSO EMBARKED ON THE BORDELLO
PROJECT WITH NO MUSE TO GUIDE
HIM.
THE HONEYMOON WITH FERNANDE WAS
OVER.
HE WORKED FRANTICALLY AND ALONE.
AND TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE,
COMMENTS FROM FRIENDS WHO SAW
PRELIMINARY SKETCHES WERE NOT
GOOD.
BEFORE HIM, PICASSO SAW THE
SOLITARY FIGURE OF PAUL CEZANNE,
WHO REPRESENTED TO HIM AN
EXEMPLAR OF RELENTLESS STRIVING
AND HOW TO ENDURE INCREDIBLE
ISOLATION IN WORKING ALONE TO
PRODUCE THIS BREAKTHROUGH THAT
HE WAS WORKING TOWARDS.
PICASSO FORMALLY BEGAN WORKING
ON HIS BORDELLO PAINTING IN
MARCH OF 1907, AND BY THE FALL
OF 1907, HE COMPLETED WHAT
BECAME KNOWN AS
LES
DEMOISELLES D'AVIGNON.
IT IS AN IN-YOUR-FACE
CONFRONTATION WITH FIVE WHORES
WITH THE VIEWER AS CLIENT.
AS WE LOOK ACROSS THIS EXPANSE
OF CANVAS, 233 CENTIMETRES IN
WIDTH BY 244 CENTIMETRES IN
HEIGHT, WE SEE FIVE
DEMOISELLES.
THE
DEMOISELLE
ON THE
LEFT IS PARTIALLY CLOTHED.
SHE HAS AN EGYPTIAN GAUGINESQUE
FACE AND A PARTIALLY DISEMBODIED
ARM THAT'S PARTING A CURTAIN.
THE TWO
DEMOISELLES
NEXT
TO HER ARE MORE ATTRACTIVE.
THEY'RE OF IBERIAN OCEANIC
LIKENESS.
THE
DEMOISELLE
ON THE
RIGHT IS MORE GEOMETRIZED, AND
FINALLY WE HAVE WHAT'S KNOWN IN
THE TRADE AS "THE SQUATTER."
SHE'S IN A GROTESQUELY
IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION, BACK TO
THE PICTURE PLANE, HEAD TURNED
180 DEGREES AS IF ON A SWIVEL, A
NOSE LIKE A WEDGE OF BRIE, EYES
OFFLINE AND DISTINCTLY
DIFFERENT, A SNOUT-LIKE MOUTH,
AND SHE'S REPRESENTED
SIMULTANEOUSLY IN FULL FACE AND
PROFILE VIEWS, AND HER FACE IS
SHOCKINGLY HIDEOUS COMPARED TO
THE OTHERS.
SHE IS ALSO THE MOST ADVANCED IN
GEOMETRICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL
REPRESENTATION THAN ALL OF THE
OTHER
DEMOISELLES,
AND
INDEED, IT IS MY BELIEF THAT AN
UNDERSTANDING OF THIS FACE IS
THE KEY TO OUR FINDING OUT WHAT
WAS PICASSO'S REALIZATION
TOWARDS DISCOVERING A NEW
AESTHETICS, THE REDUCTION OF
FORMS TO GEOMETRY, WHICH BECAME
THE HALLMARK OF CUBISM.

The slide changes to "Einstein discovers special relativity."

Arthur continues IN MARCH 1905, EINSTEIN WAS ALSO
WORKING IN FANATICAL ISOLATION,
AND THEN HE BECAME STUCK IN HIS
WORK ON RELATIVITY THEORY.
THE PROBLEM CONCERNED THE NATURE
OF TIME, AND MORE PARTICULARLY,
HOW HE COULD REPRESENT TWO
EVENTS THAT OCCURRED AT THE SAME
TIME, THAT IS TO SAY, ARE
SIMULTANEOUS AND YET ARE FAR
APART.
IT HAS LONG BEEN A MYSTERY AS TO
HOW EINSTEIN SOLVED THIS PUZZLE,
AND IN MY OPINION, THE CLUE LAY
IN PAPERS WRITTEN BY THE ONLY
OTHER SCIENTIST INVOLVED WITH
THIS PROBLEM, THE GREAT FRENCH
POLYMATH HENRI POINCARE, WHO TO
MY SURPRISE WAS ALSO OF GREAT
IMPORTANCE TO PICASSO.
THE PROBLEM OF HOW TIME IS
MEASURED WAS A HOT TOPIC IN THE
FRENCH ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, TO
WHICH POINCARE BELONGED AND
CONTRIBUTED AS WELL AS IN THE
PATENT OFFICE IN BERN AND OF
COURSE IN THE FEDERAL POSTAL AND
TELEGRAPH ADMINISTRATION.
BESIDES MAPPING PROBLEMS, WHICH
THE FRENCH ALWAYS FANCIED, THERE
WERE SUCH PROBLEMS AS WEATHER
REPORTING OF WIDELY SPREAD
WEATHER PHENOMENA BY OBSERVERS
WHO WERE ALSO VERY FAR APART AND
WHO REQUIRED CLOCKS THAT READ
THE SAME TIME.
THERE WAS ALSO THE ISSUE OF
STANDARDIZING RAILROAD
TIMETABLES, WHICH WAS A CHAOTIC
SITUATION OVER LONG DISTANCES IN
THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA IN
PARTICULAR. AND THEN THERE WAS
THE ISSUE OF TIME ON SHIPBOARD.
THE ISSUE BOILED DOWN TO HOW TO
SYNCHRONIZE CLOCKS.
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY WAS AGREED
ON, AND PROCEDURES HAD TO BE
SET.
JUST ABOUT EVERY
OTHER SCIENTIST, INCLUDING
POINCARE, BECAME BOGGED DOWN IN
A PANOPLY OF ASSUMPTIONS
CONCERNING WHAT SPEED LIGHT
TRAVELS THROUGH SPACE AND HOW WE
PERCEIVE ITS EFFECTS.
EINSTEIN TOOK A DIFFERENT
STRATEGY THAN ANYBODY ELSE.
TO HIM THERE'S NO PROBLEM WITH
WHAT VELOCITY LIGHT TRAVELS
WITH.
IT TRAVELS AT THE
VELOCITY OF LIGHT, AND WE SHOULD
LEAVE PERCEPTION OUT OF THE
PICTURE.
RATHER, IT'S CONCEPTION THAT
COUNTS.
THIS HAD ENORMOUS RAMIFICATIONS,
SUCH AS THE TIME REGISTERED ON A
CLOCK DEPENDS ON THE CLOCK'S
RELATIVE MOTION AND THAT
SIMULTANEITY IS NOT AN ABSOLUTE
PHENOMENON BUT A RELATIVE
PHENOMENON, NAMELY, TWO EVENTS
THAT ARE SIMULTANEOUS WITH
RESPECT TO OBSERVERS AT RELATIVE
REST NEED NOT BE SIMULTANEOUS TO
OBSERVERS IN RELATIVE MOTION.
THERE IS NO ONE TRUE VIEW OF
SIMULTANEITY, NO ONE TRUE
PERSPECTIVE, JUST LIKE THERE IS
NO ONE TRUE VIEW OF
ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION.
THIS IS ANOTHER ODD ONE TRIUMPH
OF CONCEPTION OVER PERCEPTION.
I NOW TURN TO PICASSO'S WORK ON
SIMULTANEITY.

The caption changes to "Picasso discovers the fourth dimension."

Arthur continues PICASSO'S ANXIETY WHILE WORKING
ON
LES DEMOISELLES
D'AVIGNON IS AKIN TO THAT
SUFFERED BY RESEARCH SCIENTISTS
WORKING ON THE FRONTIER OF THEIR
SUBJECT, IN WHICH THE PROBLEM
THAT THEY POSE TO THEMSELVES MAY
NOT HAVE ANY SOLUTION
WHATSOEVER.
NOW, ARTISTS ARE PROBLEM-
ORIENTED, AND ARTISTS LIKE
PICASSO WERE WILLING TO TAKE
CHANCES.
AFTER ALL, PICASSO LIVED AT THE
CENTRE OF THE DEBATE THAT
SWIRLED ABOUT, ABSTRACTION
VERSUS REPRESENTATION.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS...
AND THAT WAS AT THE HEART OF THE
AVANT-GARDE.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY,
SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS WOULD
ULTIMATELY MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.
TECHNOLOGY (AIRPLANES, WIRELESS
TELEGRAPHY, CINEMA, BICYCLES)
ALL CHANGED EVERYONE'S
CONCEPTION OF SPACE.
AND PHOTOGRAPHY, FROM ITS DATE
OF DISCOVERY IN 1838, EVERYBODY
THOUGHT THAT PHOTOGRAPHY WOULD
BE THE WAY TO GIVE YOU AN
ABSOLUTELY PRECISE
REPRESENTATION OF WHAT YOU SEE.
WELL, PHOTOGRAPHERS QUICKLY
WOULD PAY TO THAT BY DISTORTIONS
BY MEANS OF LENSES.
X-RAYS, THIS DISCOVERY IN
NOVEMBER 1895 WOULD BE
CONSIDERED AS NOTHING LESS THAN
FANTASTIC.
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN TWO AND
THREE DIMENSIONS BECAME BLURRED.
WHAT WAS INSIDE AND WHAT WAS
OUTSIDE BECAME AMBIGUOUS.
WHAT WAS OPAQUE BECAME
TRANSPARENT.
AND INDEED, THERE ARE ALSO SOME
CARTOONS OF PEOPLE HAVING TO
WEAR LEAD-LIKE CLOTHES SO PEOPLE
COULDN'T SEE THROUGH OTHER...
SO MEN COULDN'T SEE THROUGH
WOMEN'S CLOTHING.
WHAT YOU SAW WAS NOT WHAT YOU
GOT.
YOUNG ARTISTS USED X-RAYS AS A
WEAPON AGAINST FIGURATION, AND
SCIENTISTS OFTEN USED X-RAYS
AGAINST POSITIVISM.
THEN THERE WAS MATHEMATICS.
MATHEMATICIANS BEGAN
INVESTIGATING EXOTIC GEOMETRIES
THAT WERE REPRESENTED IN MORE
THAN THREE DIMENSIONS.
THESE IDEAS WERE HOTLY DISCUSSED
IN PARISIAN CAFES AND WERE
REPORTED ON THE NEWSPAPERS WHICH
PICASSO READ, AND HIS THINK-TANK
KEPT HIM INFORMED.
IDEAS WERE EVERYWHERE.
THE AIR WAS ELECTRIC IN PARIS,
AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT.
PICASSO'S SKETCHBOOKS FROM THE
AUTUMN OF 1906 THROUGH 1907
CONTAIN A VARIETY OF SKETCHES,
MANY HUNDREDS OF SKETCHES, SOME
OF WHICH WOULD APPEAR IN
DEMOISELLES D'AVIGNON.

A sketch of human figures turns into The Demoiselles d'Avignon painting.

Arthur continues THEY'RE LIKE A SCIENTIST'S
NOTEBOOK FULL OF FALSE STARTS
AND DEAD ENDS, AND THE MOST
CHALLENGING TO INTERPRET WAS...
THIS IS THE SQUATTER.
SHE APPEARS IN PICASSO'S
SKETCHES, SAY, IN WINTER OF 1906
TO 1907.
HERE SHE IS AS A CEZANNESQUE
SORT OF WOMAN, BACK TO THE
PICTURE PLANE, HEAD EASILY
TURNED, LEGS SPREAD APART,
ATTEMPTING TO ATTRACT THE
ATTENTION OF THE SAILOR SITTING
IN THE CENTRE HERE WITH AN
OUTRIGHT SHOW OF HER SEX.
IN ABOUT MARCH, THE
DEMOISELLES
MOVE AWAY
FROM THE INFLUENCE OF CEZANNE
AND EL GRECO, AND THEY BECOME
CONCEPTUAL IBERIAN FORMS, AND
THEN FINALLY...
AND THE WHOLE ACADEMIC INDUSTRY
IS FORMED FROM THIS QUESTION OF
HOW PICASSO WENT FROM MANY
FIGURES TO FIVE FIGURES.
BY MAY OF 1907, PICASSO BEGAN
EXTREME GEOMETRICAL EXPERIMENTS,
AND THERE APPEARS A REMARKABLE
WOMAN, A REMARKABLE FIGURE OF A
WOMAN, WHO'S FACETED INTO
INTERLOCKING DIAMONDS WITH
KNEECAPS.
NOW, THIS FIGURE IS NOWHERE LIKE
THE FIGURES THAT ART STUDENTS
AND EVEN ARTISTS PRACTICE
COPYING FROM BOOKS SUCH AS THOSE
WRITTEN BY ALBRECHT DURER AND
LEONARDO DA VINCI.
RATHER, PICASSO OBTAINED A CLUE
TO HOW TO CONSTRUCT FIGURES OF
THIS SORT FROM A BOOK WRITTEN BY
A LITTLE-KNOWN MATHEMATICIAN,
ESPRIT JOUFFRET.

An old book cover reads "Geométrie a quatre dimensions."

Arthur continues BUT JOUFFRET WAS VERY WELL
CONTACTED.
ONE OF HIS GOOD FRIENDS WAS
POINCARE.
AND THE TREATISE IS HIS
ELEMENTARY TREATISE IN GEOMETRY,
IN FOUR-DIMENSIONAL GEOMETRY.
AND HERE ONE SEES FIGURES OF
THIS SORT.
AND WHAT JOUFFRET DID WAS TO
WRITE DOWN HIS COMPLICATED
MATHEMATICAL EQUATIONS FOR
COMPLEX POLYHEDRONS IN FOUR
DIMENSIONS AND THEN BY MEANS OF
CERTAIN MATHEMATICAL
CALCULATIONS PROJECT THEM DOWN
INTO THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL PLANE
OF THE PAPER, AND WHAT HE DID
ALSO WAS TO PROJECT THEM IN
VARIOUS...
AND ROTATED THEM.
SO HE PROJECTED THEM
DOWN ONTO A TWO-DIMENSIONAL
PLANE IN DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
IN SUCCESSION.
BUT HOW COULD PICASSO AND HIS
GANG HAVE KNOWN ABOUT A BOOK OF
THIS SORT?
WELL, IT TURNS OUT THAT PICASSO
LEARNED ABOUT FOUR-DIMENSIONAL
GEOMETRY AND HOW TO PLAY AROUND
WITH GEOMETRY FROM AN INSURANCE
ACTUARY WHO HAD A KEEN INTEREST
IN ADVANCED MATHEMATICS, NAME OF
MAURICE PRINCET.
PRINCET WAS
INTRODUCED INTO
LA BANDE A
PICASSO BY HIS NOTORIOUSLY
UNFAITHFUL MISTRESS, ALICE GERY,
WHO LIKED HOT-BLOODED SPANIARDS
AND IN FACT HAD BEEN A
GIRLFRIEND OF PICASSO AT THE
TIME PICASSO MET FERNANDE.
PRINCET WAS SEEN WITH PICASSO'S
GROUP IN CAFES, TOOK PART IN
THEIR HASHISH SESSIONS -- IT WAS
DE RIGUEUR
AFTER EVERY
MEAL YOU POPPED A HASHISH
PILL -- AND ALSO APPEARED IN
PICASSO'S ATELIER AT CRITICAL
TIMES DURING MAY TO JUNE 1907.
AND TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT
A GOOD BUDDY PRINCET WAS OF
LA BANDE A PICASSO,
FOR
HIS 33rd BIRTHDAY IN 1908,
PICASSO SENT HIM A BIRTHDAY CARD
THAT WAS "ON YOUR 33rd BIRTHDAY,
GREETINGS, YOUR FRIEND,
PICASSO."

A card features the drawings of two naked couples kissing and touching.

Arthur continues NOW, AMONGST THE TOPICS THAT
PRINCET LECTURED OVER CAFE
TABLES TO
LA BANDE A
PICASSO WERE TOPICS FROM
HENRI POINCARE'S WIDELY READ
BOOK,
SCIENCE AND
HYPOTHESIS, WHICH HAD ALSO
KEPT EINSTEIN'S THINK-TANK, THE
OLYMPIA ACADEMY, SPELLBOUND.
AND OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO
PICASSO WAS POINCARE'S
SUGGESTION OF HOW TO VIEW THE
FOURTH DIMENSION, AND IT GOES
SOMETHING LIKE THIS: "WE CAN
CONSIDER AFTER ALL FIGURES ON A
TWO-DIMENSIONAL SURFACE AS
PROJECTIONS FROM THE THIRD
DIMENSION, SO WHY NOT CONSIDER
FIGURES ON THE THREE- OR
TWO-DIMENSIONAL SURFACE AS
PROJECTIONS FROM THE FOURTH
DIMENSION?"
"AFTER ALL," POINCARE CONTINUED,
"GEOMETRICIANS DO IT PLAYFULLY
ALL THE TIME," HAVING JOUFFRET
IN MIND.
PICASSO CONTINUED TO IMAGINE
THAT THE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
OF ONE AND THE SAME OBJECT
SUCCEED ONE ANOTHER.
NOW, WRITINGS SUCH AS POINCARE'S
WERE IMMENSELY INFLUENTIAL ON
YOUNG ARTISTS BECAUSE ONE OF THE
PRINCIPAL PROBLEMS OF ART IN THE
AVANT-GARDE WAS HOW TO REPRESENT
FIGURES FROM THE FOURTH
DIMENSION ON A TWO-DIMENSIONAL
CANVAS.
ARTISTS CONSIDERED THE FOURTH
DIMENSION TO BE A FOURTH SPATIAL
DIMENSION, AND THEY TALKED ABOUT
THE PLANE OF FOUR DIMENSIONS AS
WHAT THEY CALLED THE ASTRAL
PLANE.
IF YOU COULD GET UP INTO THIS
PLANE, YOU WOULD HAVE A GOD'S
EYE VIEW OF A SCENE.
IT WOULD BE A BLOOMING, BUZZING
CONFUSION.
THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE SOME SENSE
OUT OF IT IS TO PROJECT IT DOWN
ONTO THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL CANVAS.
WELL, WE CAN IMAGINE PICASSO
SITTING, LEANING BACK ON HIS
CHAIR AT MAYBE (French name) AND
SAYING, "WELL, WHY IN
SUCCESSION?
WHY NOT ALL AT ONCE?"
THE PROBLEM WAS HOW TO DO IT,
AND PICASSO GOT DOWN TO WORK.
HE BEGAN FURTHER EXPERIMENTS
WITH GEOMETRIZING HIS CONCEPTUAL
IBERIAN FIGURES.
HERE A NOSE LIKE A WEDGE OF BRIE
APPEARS, AND HE FELT THAT THERE
WAS, YOU KNOW, SOME HOPE GOING
ON IN THIS PROJECT, AND IN JUNE
HE BEGAN TRANSFERRING SKETCHES
SUCH AS THIS, ONLY MORE
ADVANCED, ONTO HIS LARGE CANVAS.

A cubist face sketch appears.

Arthur continues BUT HE SOON BECAME STUCK, AND HE
WAS ALSO JUST DISGUSTED WITH HIS
WORK AND WITH HIS PRIVATE LIFE
AS WELL, WHICH WAS NOT GOING
WELL.
FERNANDE WAS THREATENING TO
LEAVE HIM.
HE TURNED HIS CANVAS TO THE
WALL, AND WHAT TO DO?
WELL, HE WENT TO SEE HIS FRIEND,
DERAIN, AND DERAIN SUGGESTED
THAT PICASSO TAKE A WALK OVER TO
THE ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM AT
TROCADERO TO SEE THE EXHIBITION
OF AFRICAN MASKS... SUCH AS
THAT.

A new slide shows a bizarre humanoid mask.

He continues PICASSO RECALLED THAT HE WAS
SHOCKED.
HE HAD AN EPIPHANY BECAUSE THE
EXHIBITION OF AFRICAN MASKS GAVE
HIM CONFIDENCE THAT HE WAS
PROCEEDING ALONG THE CORRECT
LINE, THE LINE OF CONCEPTUAL
ART.
NOW, WHAT I BELIEVE HAPPENED
NEXT IS THAT, NUMBER ONE,
PICASSO SUDDENLY...
WHAT PRINCET HAD BEEN
SAYING TO HIM SUDDENLY MADE
SENSE ABOUT GEOMETRY AND ABOUT
GEOMETRIZING, AND PICASSO THEN
HAD THE BRAINSTORM, THE
BRAIN WAVE, THE GREAT IDEA TO
PROCEED ALONG THE ROUTE OF
EXTREME GEOMETRIZATION, MORE
THAN HE HAD EVER GEOMETRIZED
BEFORE, OF CONCEPTUAL ART.
SO, WHEREAS BEFORE TROCADERO,
BEFORE HE SAW AFRICAN ART,
PICASSO HAD BEEN EXPERIMENTING
WITH GEOMETRY, AFTER TROCADERO,
PICASSO REALIZED THAT GEOMETRY
WAS JUST THE RIGHT LANGUAGE TO
EXPRESS THE MESSAGE OF
CONCEPTUAL ART WHILE
SIMULTANEOUSLY REALIZING A NEW
ART FORM THAT COULD TAKE ITS
PLACE BESIDE THE MAGNIFICENT
ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE AVANT-GARDE
OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.
SO IN PICASSO'S
HANDS, THE FORMERLY INFORMAL
LANGUAGE OF ART BECAME
FORMALIZED.
He turns a page and continues PICASSO GOT DOWN TO WORK, AND
HIS SKETCHES FROM THE END OF
JUNE ON CONTAIN STRICTLY
GEOMETRICAL STUDIES.
AND ANOTHER IMPORTANT SUBJECT IS
ANOTHER DISCOVERY PICASSO MADE
AT GOSOL, THE FACE OF HIS
LANDLORD, JOSEP FONTDEVILA.
HE HAD DRAWN A CONCEPTUAL
IBERIAN FORM IN 1906, OR I
SHOULD SAY A CONCEPTUALIZED
IBERIAN FORM.
THIS FACE RUNS THROUGH PICASSO'S
LIFE, RUNS THROUGH HIS
(Unclear word), BECOMING HIS OWN
AS AN OLD MAN.
AND WHAT HE DID, STARTING IN
JUNE, WAS THE FOLLOWING:
HE BEGAN TO GEOMETRIZE IT, NOSE
LIKE A WEDGE OF BRIE, THE FACE
FLATTENS.
REMEMBER, THIS WAS THE PREVIOUS
ONE.
NOSE LIKE A WEDGE OF BRIE, FACE
FLATTENS, MOUTH BECOMING
SNOUT-LIKE, FLIPS THE NOSE
180 DEGREES ACROSS THE VERTICAL,
ADDS A HINT OF HATCHING -- I'M
SUMMARIZING HIS MANY HUNDREDS OF
SKETCHES -- ADDS A HINT OF
HATCHING FOR A BIT OF VIOLENCE,
FLIPS THE NOSE BACK, AND WHAT
ONE HAS IS A FACE THAT AFTER
MANY, MANY MORE SKETCHES BECOMES
A PROJECTION FROM THE FOURTH
DIMENSION, THAT IS TO SAY, A
SIMULTANEOUS REPRESENTATION OF
FRONT AND PROFILE PERSPECTIVES,
NOT IN SUCCESSION, AS POINCARE
HAD SUGGESTED.

A black and white drawing of a bald man appears, followed by several sketches deconstructing it to a Picasso-like style.

He continues NOW, HOW TO PUT DIFFERENT VIEWS
TOGETHER, PICASSO HAD ALWAYS
BEEN CONCERNED WITH THAT,
PARTICULARLY AFTER READING
POINCARE.
JUST LET ME SHOW YOU ONE EARLY
THOUGHT OF HIS.
HERE'S A WASHBASIN FROM ABOVE
AND FROM THE SIDE.
HOW TO PUT THEM TOGETHER, SOME
PEOPLE HAD A MORE DIRECT ROUTE
TO THIS, SUCH AS THIS FIGURE
FROM THE HUMOUR MAGAZINE
LE RIRE,
WHICH JUST
SLAPPED THEM TOGETHER.
NOW, FOR OTHER CLUES AS TO HOW
PICASSO DISCOVERED
LES
DEMOISELLES D'AVIGNON, LET
US TURN TO THE VIBRANT VISUAL
CULTURE OF PARIS WITH ITS
TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS,
PARTICULARLY IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND
CINEMATOGRAPHY.
NOW, TO PICASSO...
IT'S ONLY IN THE LAST 15 YEARS
THAT WE'VE FOUND THAT PICASSO
WAS AN AVID PHOTOGRAPHER, AND TO
PICASSO, PHOTOGRAPHY WAS NOT TO
BE AN EXACT REPRESENTATION OF
THE SCENE.
RATHER, IT WAS A PLAYFUL DEVICE.
IT WAS A CREATIVE DEVICE.
AND PICASSO MADE HIS
EXPERIMENTS, PHOTOGRAPHIC
EXPERIMENTS, WITH TINY GLASS
PLATES AND A TINY CAMERA, WHICH
HE SLAPPED THE GLASS PLATES ON
THE BACK.
WE CALL THAT CAMERA TODAY A
BOX CAMERA.
IN THOSE DAYS, IT WAS CALLED THE
"DETECTIVE" BECAUSE YOU COULD
SNEAK IT AROUND.
AND WE KNOW HE MIXED HIS OWN
DEVELOPER AND FIXING SOLUTIONS
AND WAS VERY MUCH INVOLVED...
HE WAS ALWAYS INVOLVED IN MANY
DIFFERENT ART FORMS ALL AT ONCE.
THIS IS ONE OF HIS EARLIER...
IT'S A DOUBLE EXPOSURE.
IT WAS DONE IN 1901.
IT'S A CAREFUL SET-UP, STUDIO
SET-UP OF WORKS COMPLETED AND IN
PROGRESS, AND HERE THE GREAT MAN
MATERIALIZES THROUGH A WALL.
HERE PICASSO IS PLAYING AROUND
WITH A SENSE OF FANTASY AND
INVESTIGATING THE NATURE OF
SPACE AS WELL.
BESIDES PHOTOGRAPHIC
EXPERIMENTS, PICASSO, LIKE ALL
ARTISTS, USED PICTURE POSTCARDS
TO HELP HIM IN FRAMING
LES
DEMOISELLES D'AVIGNON AND OF
COURSE PAID HOMAGE TO HIS
ANCESTORS SUCH AS EL GRECO'S
"APOCALYPSE."

A black and white postcard shows African women wearing traditional clothes. Then, the postcard fades to show only a sketch of the women labelled with letters. Finally, a sketch of The Demoiselles d'Avignon appears, followed by a painting.

He continues NOW, THE DISEMBODIED LEFT ARM OF
THIS
DEMOISELLE
AND THE
IMPOSSIBLE POSITION OF THIS
DEMOISELLE,
KNOWN AS THE
FLOATER, IS A CLUE TO PICASSO'S
ATTEMPTS TO CREATE A SPACE, A
PICTORIAL SPACE, THAT CAN
SUPPORT SURPRISING AND
UNEXPECTED MOVEMENTS, AND HERE
WE ARE REMINDED OF GEORGES
MELIES, THE FRENCH
CINEMATOGRAPHER, A PIONEER IN
SPECIAL EFFECTS.
PICASSO AND HIS GANG WENT TO THE
MOVIES EVERY WEEK IN MONTMARTRE.
MONTMARTRE WAS THE ONLY PLACE IN
PARIS WHERE THERE WERE MOVIE
THEATRES.
GOING TO THE MOVIES WAS AN
EXPERIENCE IN SLUMMING AT THAT
TIME.
THERE, THERE WAS STILL THE
QUESTION OF HOW DEEP THE LIGHTS
SHOULD GO DARK.
AND ONE OF MELIES' SPECIALTIES
WAS THE EXPLOSION OF BODIES AND
REASSEMBLING OF THEM IN WEIRD
AND OFTEN HILARIOUS WAYS, AND IN
TIME, AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE
MORE ADVANCED CUBISM, THE
SYNTHETIC CUBISM, WOULD INVOLVE
AN EXPLOSION OF SPACE, SUCH AS
THIS PORTRAIT, PICASSO'S
PORTRAIT OF MONSIEUR KAHNWEILER
DONE IN 1910.
NOW, ON ANOTHER EXPERIMENTAL
TECHNOLOGICAL TRACK, THERE WERE
THE EXPLORATIONS OF
ETIENNE-JULES MAREY AND EADWEARD
MUYBRIDGE.
MAREY EXPLORED A SERIES OF
MOVEMENTS ON A SINGLE FRAME.
THIS IS ENTITLED, NOT
SURPRISINGLY, "THE FENCER," AND
THAT GAVE PICASSO AN INSPIRATION
FOR HIS DISCOVERY OF CUBIST
SIMULTANEITY AND FOR THE
INTERPENETRATION OF FORMS.
MUYBRIDGE EXPLORED A SEQUENCE OF
IMAGES ON CLOSELY SPACED FRAMES.
OF COURSE, BOTH OF THESE
DEVELOPMENTS WOULD LEAD TO
MOVING PICTURES.
THE TITLE OF THIS ONE IS "NAKED
WOMAN DROPPING A HANDKERCHIEF
AND PICKING IT UP."

(Laughter)
The black and white pictures mentioned appear.

Arthur laughs and continues AND WHAT I BELIEVE IS
THAT WHAT MUYBRIDGE'S INPUT TO
PICASSO WAS, THE IDEA OF SETTING
UP A MOTION PICTURE SEQUENCE IN
FIVE FRAMES OF INCREASED
GEOMETRIZATION AS YOU MOVE FROM
LEFT TO RIGHT.
NOW, TO BEGIN TO
CONCLUDE, BEGIN TO SUM UP, ANY
HIGHLY CREATIVE WORK OF ART OR
SCIENCE NECESSARILY DRAWS ON
MANY DIFFERENT AND APPARENTLY
UNCONNECTED DISCIPLINES, BUT I
BELIEVE THAT AT THE MOMENT, THAT
NASCENT MOMENT OF CREATIVITY,
BOUNDARIES DISSOLVE BETWEEN
DISCIPLINES AND BOTH ARTISTS AND
SCIENTISTS THINK ALONG THE LINES
OF A NEW AESTHETIC.
THEY BEGIN TO THINK
ALONG THE SAME LINES, AESTHETIC
LINES.
AND NOW SUCH HIGHLY CREATIVE
THINKING CAN BE LIKENED TO A
MOSAIC OF MANY DIFFERENT TILES.
SOME OF THEM WE DISCUSSED TODAY
WITH REGARD TO EINSTEIN AND
PICASSO.
ONE OF THEM IS GEOMETRY.
GEOMETRY WAS OF IMPORTANCE TO
PICASSO AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS
WORK AND INDEED THROUGH
DEMOISELLES D'AVIGNON,
BUT NOT TO EINSTEIN.
IT WOULD NOT BE UNTIL 1907 THAT
THE GERMAN PHYSICIST-
MATHEMATICIAN HERMAN MINKOWSKI
REALIZED WITH MANY, MANY HINTS
FROM POINCARE THAT A DEEPER
REPRESENTATION OF WHAT EINSTEIN
HAD ACCOMPLISHED COULD BE HAD
THROUGH A FOUR-DIMENSIONAL
REPRESENTATION, WHERE HERE, TO
SCIENTISTS, THE FOURTH DIMENSION
IS TIME.
BUT IT'S TO SAY IT'S AN
ANALOGOUS SITUATION WITH
ARTISTS, WHEREBY IF YOU COULD
LOOK UP INTO THE FOURTH
DIMENSION, INTO A
FOUR-DIMENSIONAL PLANE AND SEE
AND TRY TO OBSERVE A PHENOMENON
FROM THAT VANTAGE POINT, FROM A
GOD'S EYE VIEW, YOU WOULD SEE
BLOOMING, BUZZING CONFUSION.
ONCE AGAIN, THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE
SENSE OUT OF IT IS TO PROJECT
DOWN ONTO TWO DIMENSIONS.
THESE ARE SKETCHES FROM
MINKOWSKI'S NOTEBOOKS, AND HERE
ONE HAS ONE TIME DIMENSION AND
ONE SPATIAL DIMENSION, BUT NO
ONE PERSPECTIVE, NO ONE
PROJECTION, IS THE TRUE OR
ABSOLUTE ONE.
HOW YOU LOOK AT A PHENOMENON,
THAT'S THE WAY IT IS.
TECHNOLOGY WAS OF IMPORTANCE TO
PICASSO IN CINEMATOGRAPHY AND
PHOTOGRAPHY, AND TO EINSTEIN, IT
WAS IMPORTANT IN EXAMINING
ELECTRICAL DYNAMOS, WHICH GAVE
HIM A KEY IDEA FOR RELATIVITY
THEORY AS WELL AS THE SITUATION
WITH RAILROAD TIMETABLES, WHICH
LED HIM TO CONSIDER THE NOTION
OF "WHAT IS TIME" A BIT MORE.
ALL OF THIS CAME FROM HIS
EXPERIENCE AT THE PATENT OFFICE.
AND SCIENCE, OF COURSE SCIENCE
WAS IMPORTANT TO EINSTEIN.
TO PICASSO, THE NOTION OF X-RAYS
WAS A KEY POINT FOR HIM.
NOW, ART HISTORIANS HAVE A
PECULIAR VIEW OF THE ORIGINS OF
CUBISM.
TO THEM, THE ROOTS OF CUBISM ARE
IN CEZANNE'S DRAWINGS AND
AFRICAN ART, "AND THAT'S IT, AND
DON'T ASK ME ANYTHING ANYMORE."
BUT THAT, I ALWAYS CONSIDERED TO
BE RATHER PECULIAR.
IT'S SOMETHING MANY OF THEM WILL
NOT TALK ABOUT, BECAUSE HOW CAN
SOMEBODY LIKE PICASSO, LIVING IN
AN INTELLECTUAL, YOU KNOW,
HOTBOX THAT PARIS WAS, AND NOT
REALIZE WHAT WAS GOING ON IN
GEOMETRY, TECHNOLOGY AND
SCIENCE?
INDEED, WE DO KNOW THAT PICASSO
REALIZED ALL THESE GREAT
DISCOVERIES IN GEOMETRY AND
CINEMATOGRAPHY AND X-RAYS, AND
IDEAS ARE FED TO HIM BY HIS
THINK-TANK.
SO, THIS IS...
THESE THREE DIMENSIONS ARE
SORELY NEGLECTED IN PICASSO'S
EARLY WORK. AESTHETICS, OF
COURSE, FOR PICASSO, BUT BOTH
EINSTEIN AND PICASSO ARE
DISCOVERING A NEW AESTHETICS.
FOR EINSTEIN, IT'S IMPORTANT THE
WAY HE INTRODUCED AESTHETIC
REASONING INTO 20th CENTURY
SCIENCE.
AND INDEED, WHEREAS IN ART,
AESTHETICS IS TO STILL A GREAT
EXTENT SUBJECTIVE, IT'S IN THE
EYE OF THE VIEWER, IN SCIENCE
ONE CAN TEST FOR WHETHER A
THEORY IS BEAUTIFUL, WHETHER IT
IS AESTHETIC.
THERE ARE CERTAIN MATHEMATICAL
TESTS YOU CAN RUN ON IT, AND
USUALLY BEAUTIFUL THEORIES ARE
THE CORRECT THEORIES.
THAT CAN BE...
THIS IS NOT TO SAY, FOR THOSE
MANY SCIENTISTS IN THE AUDIENCE,
YOU CAN COOK UP AN EXTREMELY
BEAUTIFUL THEORY WHICH HOLDS ITS
FORM UNDER ALL SORTS OF
TRANSFORMATIONS, AND IT'LL BE
NONSENSE.
SO THERE HAS TO BE SOME...
THERE ARE GUIDELINES FOR
CREATIVITY.
YOU CAN'T WAKE UP ONE MORNING
AND SAY, "I THINK I'LL DISCOVER
A NEW THEORY."
THERE HAS TO BE AN ACCUMULATION
OF KNOWLEDGE AND GUIDELINES IN
THE SENSE OF CERTAIN WHAT ARE
CALLED "CONSERVATION LAWS" THAT
HAVE TO BE MAINTAINED THAT GIVE
YOU A STRUCTURE TO BUILD A NEW
THEORY AROUND.
COMPETITIVENESS -- WELL, NOT SO
MUCH FOR EINSTEIN'S SPECIAL
RELATIVITY, BUT CERTAINLY FOR
PICASSO, AND COMPETITIVENESS IN
THE SENSE OF COMPETING WITH
DERAIN AND MATISSE, FOR EXAMPLE.
SEX -- WELL, PICASSO
WAS A SEXUAL VOLCANO, AND
EINSTEIN, FROM CORRESPONDANCE
THAT'S BEING DISCOVERED MORE
EVERY YEAR, HE WAS NOT TOO FAR
BEHIND.
SEX INSPIRED THESE
PEOPLE, AND THESE PEOPLE SHOULD
NOT BE VIEWED AND EVALUATED FROM
THE VIEWPOINT OF THE LATE
20th CENTURY AND THE
21st CENTURY.
THEY WERE MEN OF THEIR TIMES.
PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE, OF
COURSE, FOR EINSTEIN, AND DAVID
HUME, ERNST MACH, IMMANUEL KANT,
BARUCH SPINOZA WERE OF GREAT
IMPORTANCE TO HIM.
FOR PICASSO, IT WAS A RATHER
CRUDE PHILOSOPHY, THE PHILOSOPHY
OF NIETZSCHE, THAT HE PICKED UP
IN CAFES IN BARCELONA WHEN HE
WAS A YOUNG MAN, THE STRONG
IMPOSING THEIR WILL OVER THE
WEAK.
THIS DROVE HIS COMPETITIVENESS
AS WELL.
EINSTEIN AND PICASSO BOTH WORKED
ON THE NATURE OF SIMULTANEITY.
THEIR BREAKTHROUGHS CONCERNED
THE REALIZATION OF THE
IMPORTANCE OF CONCEPTION OVER
PERCEPTION AND THE DISCOVERY OF
A NEW AESTHETIC, MINIMALISM FOR
EINSTEIN AND REDUCTION OF FORMS
TO GEOMETRY FOR PICASSO.
THAT THEY BOTH WORKED ON THE
SAME PROBLEM SHOULD NOT BE
CONSIDERED AS BEING ODD BECAUSE
THEY BOTH RESPONDED TO THE
AVANT-GARDE, THE PRINCIPAL
PROBLEM OF WHICH WAS THE NATURE
OF SPACE AND TIME AND
PARTICULARLY THE REPRESENTATION
OF SIMULTANEITY.
FOR EINSTEIN, IT WAS
A TEMPORAL SIMULTANEITY, FOR
PICASSO, A SPATIAL SIMULTANEITY.

Three objects and The Mademoiselles d’Avignon appear on split screens. A caption under the objects reads "Temporal simultaneity" and a caption under the painting reads "Spatial simultaneity."

He continues LET ME MENTION A FEW
MORE INTERESTING PARALLELISMS.
THEY NEVER...
NEITHER MAN CROSSED HIS
RESPECTIVE RUBICON.
EINSTEIN NEVER AGREED WITH THE
NEXT GREAT DEVELOPMENT IN
SCIENCE, QUANTUM PHYSICS, NOR
DID PICASSO EVER DELVE INTO
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM.
THEY WERE BOTH...
THEY BOTH REMAINED CLASSICAL
PEOPLE, EINSTEIN A CLASSICAL
PHYSICIST, PICASSO A CLASSICAL
ARTIST.
ONE OF EINSTEIN'S DISAGREEMENTS
WITH QUANTUM THEORY WAS THAT ITS
VISUAL IMAGERY WAS NOT THE SORT
OF VISUAL IMAGERY THAT'S
ABSTRACTED FROM PHENOMENA THAT
WE'VE ACTUALLY WITNESSED IN THE
WORLD OF SENSE PERCEPTIONS.
IT WAS SOMETHING ELSE.
IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS
GENERATED FROM THE EQUATIONS OF
THE QUANTUM THEORY.
BUT WHAT I FIND INTERESTING,
MOST INTERESTING, ABOUT EINSTEIN
IS THAT HE NEVER PURSUED THE
LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES EVEN OF
RELATIVITY THEORY.
WHAT I HAVE IN MIND IS THE MOST
ASTOUNDING PREDICTION OF GENERAL
RELATIVITY, BLACK HOLES.
TO EINSTEIN AND TO JUST ABOUT
EVERY OTHER PHYSICIST UNTIL THE
1960s, A BLACK HOLE WAS AN UGLY
SOLUTION TO A BEAUTIFUL THEORY.
NOW WE KNOW BLACK HOLES ARE
EVERYWHERE.
THERE'S EVEN ONE UPSTAIRS IN THE
BISTRO.

(Laughter)

Arthur continues THEY ARE THESE
BEHEMOTHS IN THE COSMOS, INSIDE
OF WHICH IS A ONCE ROBUST STAR
UNDERGOING AN ETERNAL COLLAPSE.
THIS IS...
HOW BLACK HOLES FOUND THEIR WAY
BACK INTO THE SCIENTIFIC
MAINSTREAM IS A COMPLICATED AND
FASCINATING STORY, AND FOR
DETAILS, I RECOMMEND MY RECENTLY
PUBLISHED BOOK.

(Laughter)
A book cover reads "Empire of the Stars. Arthur Miller."

He continues PICASSO... IF YOU
LOOK AT PICASSO'S EVEN MOST
ABSTRACT CUBIST PIECES, YOU CAN
ALWAYS FIND FRAGMENTS OF BODY
PARTS OR WHATNOT ON THERE, AND
IN FACT, WHEN THINGS WERE
GETTING TOO ABSTRACT, WHEN IT
WASN'T CLEAR, IT WAS BECOMING
UNCLEAR WHAT WAS ON THE CANVAS,
BROCK AND PICASSO BEGAN GLUING
BITS OF PAPER, ROPE AND WOOD
ONTO IT, JUST TO BRING THE
VIEWER BACK INTO THE FRAME OF
THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE.
BUT I THINK IT'S INCONTESTABLE
THAT JUST ABOUT EVERY ART FORM
IN THE 20th CENTURY IS EITHER A
SPINOFF OF CUBISM OR A REACTION
TO IT.
HERE, AS EARLY AS 1910, ONE HAS
EXPLORATIONS INTO AN ART FORM
WITH NO FORM WHATSOEVER.
THIS IS THE FIRST EXHIBITED
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST ART BY
KANDINSKY, AND WHAT REALLY
INTERESTED ARTISTS IN RELATIVITY
WAS NOT REALLY THE FOURTH
DIMENSION BUT E=MC2, BECAUSE
ARTISTS ALWAYS HAVE UNIQUE AND
INTERESTING INTERPRETATIONS OF
SCIENCE, AND THEY INTERPRETED
E=MC2 AS SHOWING THAT
EVERYTHING, IN FACT PROVING THAT
EVERYTHING IN OUR WORLD IS
AMORPHOUS, NOTHING HAS ANY FORM.
AND SO WE HAVE KANDINSKY'S
IMPROVISATION, MALEVICH'S "WHITE
ON WHITE."
REMEMBER OVERHEAD
TRANSPARENCIES?
WHEN I WOULD GIVE TALKS ON ART
USING OVERHEAD TRANSPARENCIES,
I'D JUST TAKE EVERYTHING OFF AND
JUST LET IT PROJECT ON WHITE,
AND THAT'S IT.

(Laughter)

Arthur continues AND THEN THERE'S
MONDRIAN'S 1917 PAINTING
COMPOSITION, "THE REDUCTION OF
THE WORLD TO ORTHOGONAL LINES."

The paintings mentioned appear in different slides.

He continues GOING BACK TO...
I MENTIONED THAT WHAT SEPARATED
PICASSO FROM DERAIN, WELL, I
THINK WHAT THE SEPARATION WAS,
THE SYMMETRY BREAKING, ONE MIGHT
SAY, WAS THAT PICASSO LISTENED
TO PRINCET AND DERAIN DIDN'T.
DERAIN ENDED UP NOT TOO MANY
YEARS LATER AS REALLY GETTING
INTO VERY MEDIOCRE ART.
AND WHAT ABOUT POINCARE AND
EINSTEIN?
THAT'S AN INTERESTING STORY.
ONE OF THE POINTS
THAT...
POINCARE WAS THE ONLY COMPETITOR
EINSTEIN HAD GOING AFTER A
SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY.
IT'S AN INTERESTING SITUATION IN
WHICH IN 1905 WE HAD TWO
SCIENTISTS IN POSSESSION OF
EXACTLY THE SAME EXPERIMENTAL
DATA, AND THEY SET IT UP, AND
THEY REPRESENTED THESE DATA WITH
EXACTLY THE SAME MATHEMATICS,
YET POINCARE INTERPRETED THE
MATHEMATICS AS AN ADVANCED
THEORY OF THE ELECTRON, WHILE
EINSTEIN INTERPRETED THE
MATHEMATICS AS A THEORY OF
RELATIVITY.
WHAT MADE THE
DIFFERENCE HERE IS THAT POINCARE
WAS INTERESTED IN VERY, VERY
BEAUTIFUL AND ABSTRACT, ABSTRUSE
MATHEMATICAL SYMMETRIES, WHICH
WOULD BECOME MORE AND MORE
IMPORTANT AS TIME WENT ON IN THE
20th CENTURY FOR ELEMENTARY
PARTICLE PHYSICISTS.
BUT EINSTEIN, WHAT EINSTEIN WAS
INTERESTED IN WERE PHYSICAL
SYMMETRIES AND ASYMMETRIES SUCH
AS WHAT THE SITUATION WAS IN
ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AND
HE CLEARED THESE THINGS UP WITH
THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS BASED ON
HIGHLY VISUAL IMAGERY, IMAGERY
ABSTRACTED FROM WHAT WE SEE IN
THE WORLD AS WE MOVE ABOUT THE
WORLD OF SENSE PERCEPTIONS.
FURTHER PARALLELISMS IS THAT
NEITHER EINSTEIN'S NOR
POINCARE'S GREAT BREAKTHROUGHS
OF 1905 AND 1907 WERE
INTERPRETED AS SUCH.
PICASSO'S
DEMOISELLES
D'AVIGNON WAS GREETED WITH
EMBARRASSED SILENCE, AND IN
FACT, IT WASN'T EXHIBITED UNTIL
1916, WASN'T SOLD UNTIL 1925,
AND THEN IT WAS PRACTICALLY
GIVEN AWAY, AND THEN IT WAS SOLD
IN 1939 TO THE MoMA FOR 28,000 DOLLARS,
WHICH WASN'T EVEN A LOT OF MONEY
IN THOSE DAYS.
EINSTEIN -- WHAT WE HAVE TO
REMEMBER HERE, CELEBRATING THIS
YEAR OF SCIENCE, IS THAT
EINSTEIN SAT IN THE PATENT
OFFICE FOR FOUR MORE YEARS AFTER
HE PUBLISHED THE THREE
ANNALEN
PAPERS, THE ONE
ON LIGHT QUANTA, THE ONE PROVING
THAT ATOMS ACTUALLY EXIST, AND
THE ONE, THE SO-CALLED
"RELATIVITY PAPER," AS WE PUT
IT, BECAUSE HE NEVER LIKED THAT
NAME FOR HIS THEORY.
AND THEN IN...
THEY WERE PUBLISHED IN VOLUME 17
OF THE
ANNALEN,
AND IN
VOLUME 18 APPEARED A PAPER
CONTAINING A RESULT THAT HE HAD
OVERLOOKED IN THE RELATIVITY
PAPER, E=MC2.
SO IT WAS A BIG YEAR.
BUT NEVERTHELESS, NOBODY FELL
OFF THEIR CHAIRS.
EINSTEIN SAT THERE FOR FOUR MORE
YEARS, AND HE OBTAINED HIS FIRST
POSITION...
HE OBTAINED HIS FIRST JOB AS AN
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN ZURICH
FOR HIS WORK ON THE QUANTUM
THEORY OF SPECIFIC HEATS, NOT
FOR RELATIVITY THEORY.
IN 1909, EINSTEIN
LEFT THE PATENT OFFICE, AND
INDEED HE WROTE LETTERS AROUND
THAT TIME TO FRIENDS, SAYING HE
HAD MORE TIME FOR RESEARCH WHEN
HE WORKED SIX DAYS A WEEK, EIGHT
HOURS A DAY, RATHER THAN WHEN HE
BECAME A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR
WITH ALL OF THAT PAPERWORK THAT
WAS INVOLVED.
AT ANY RATE...
AND THEN PICASSO LEFT
LE BATEAU-LAVOIR
IN THAT
YEAR AS WELL.
NEITHER OF THEM WERE EVER ABLE
AGAIN TO FOCUS THEIR ATTENTION
AS THEY DID AS YOUNG MEN, WHEN
THEY PRODUCED THEIR FIRST GREAT
WORKS.
THEY WENT ON TO BECOME ICONS OF
THEIR TIME.
THEIR ATTENTION WAS DRAWN
ELSEWHERE, AND THEY ACHIEVED
FAME BEYOND FAME. BUT WE LIKE TO
REMEMBER THEM WHEN THEY WERE
YOUNGER.
HERE'S EINSTEIN IN 1911 AT THE
FIRST SUMMIT CONFERENCE OF
PHYSICS, THE SOLVAY CONFERENCE.
11 YEARS BEFORE, HE WAS
UNEMPLOYED AND APPARENTLY
UNEMPLOYABLE, AND HERE, 11 YEARS
LATER, HE STANDS WITH THE BEST,
AND HE'S THEIR BRIGHTEST STAR.
HERE IS POINCARE AND
MADAME CURIE TRYING TO LOOK AS
DISINTERESTED AS POSSIBLE IN THE
PROCEEDINGS.
EINSTEIN WROTE TO HIS FRIEND,
BESSO, AT THIS TIME THAT HE
REALLY GOT NOTHING OUT OF THIS
CONFERENCE.
NOBODY HAD ANYTHING TO TEACH
HIM.
THAT WAS QUITE AN ASSESSMENT.
MY VERY FAVOURITE PHOTOGRAPHIC
SELF-PORTRAIT OF PICASSO IS THIS
ONE, DONE SOMETIME BETWEEN 1914
TO 1916 IN HIS SPACIOUS ATELIER
ON RUE SCHOELCHER.
PICASSO WAS A WEALTHY MAN AT
THIS TIME.
IN 1904, EVEN IN 1905, HE WAS
STEALING MILK FROM PEOPLE'S
DOORSTEPS, AND SUDDENLY IN 1906,
HE BEGAN TO BECOME WEALTHIER AND
WEALTHIER.
AND IT'S A NICE TESTAMENT TO THE
CERTAINTY, THE CONFIDENCE IN HIS
CREATIVE POWERS AT THIS TIME.
IT'S A CAREFULLY ARRANGED STUDIO
SET-UP, AS ALL OF THESE THINGS
WERE.
HERE IS THE LOOMING PRESENCE OF
DEMOISELLES,
STILL
UNSOLD, AND A TIMELINE RUNS
THROUGH TO MORE WORKS THAT ARE
BECOMING MORE AND MORE
FIGURATIVE.
THE GREAT EXPERIMENT WITH CUBISM
IS OVER.
GONE ARE THE HALLUCINATORY DAYS
AND FIERCELY COMPETITIVE LOOKS
FROM HIS FACES FROM EARLIER
SELF-PORTRAITS.
HE HAS BECOME THE TOAST OF THE
PARISIAN ART SCENE AND THE
MASTER OF THE AVANT-GARDE. AND
AS IF IN AFFIRMATION, A SHAFT OF
SUNLIGHT SHINES OVER HIS
SHOULDER.
NOW, THEIR SOMETIMES DISDAIN FOR
HUMAN INTERACTIONS ASIDE, THE
STORIES OF EINSTEIN AND PICASSO
INSPIRE.
THROUGH INCREDIBLE
SELF-CONFIDENCE AND
PERSEVERENCE, THEY MANAGE TO
PRODUCE INCREDIBLE INTELLECTUAL
FEATS UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS THAT
WOULD HAVE DETERRED MOST OTHERS.
AND WITH NO EXAGGERATION, WE MAY
SAY THAT MODERN SCIENCE IS
EINSTEIN AND MODERN ART IS
PICASSO.
WHAT I'VE GIVEN YOU IS A VERY
LINEARIZED VERSION OF A COMPLEX
STORY THAT'S A RICH TAPESTRY,
AND FOR FURTHER DETAILS, I REFER
YOU TO MY BOOK
EINSTEIN,
PICASSO.

(Laughter)

Arthur concludes I THANK YOU.

(Applause)

Watch: Arthur I. Miller on Einstein and Picasso