Last updated: 22 june, 2009 - 10:17 GMT

21/06/2009 - The Forum

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British mathematician and trumpet player Marcus du Sautoy claims mathematics can flow from music, and that music can come from maths.

Mathematicians and composers both create patterns and aesthetic judgement helps a mathematician pick out the structure in mathematical theorems.

Similarly, famous composers such as Mozart used sophisticated mathematical procedures: Mozart mixes randomness with structure in his waltz, generated using a set of dice.

Australian writer and critic Clive James suggests that what makes a film star iconic is their ability to be both inaccessible and seemingly perfect.

Their faces, stripped back on screen and airbrushed of imperfections, restrict visual information to a bare minimum thus giving enough room for our imagination to fill in the gaps.

Clive’s favourite icon is actress Greta Garbo. The audience vote for their favourites.

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek claims we’re all retreating into a new era that he calls ‘interpassivity’.

By this he means that we pass on our activity to others to do for us and increasingly also to inanimate objects.

He cites the example of canned audience laughter on TV (the reaction of laughter to a comic scene which is included into the soundtrack itself).

He also talks about the social ritual of telling people we’re fine to prevent the need for discussion about ourselves.

He questions whether this means we care more about appearance than the real thing.

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