Project Atalanta

CHF 1618 copy of Atalanta fugiens (in situ)

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Project Atalanta is the name of a multi-disciplinary collaboration at Brown University dedicated to producing a digital edition of Michael Maier’s extraordinary musical alchemical emblem book, Atalanta fugiens (1618). Its genesis lies in the 2013-14 fellowship I held at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia where my research established Atalanta fugiens to be a virtuoso work that blends music, images, poetry, cabala, and science into a paean to wisdom achieved through alchemical arts.

Project Atalanta is directed by me (Donna Bilak, Columbia University) and Tara Nummedal (Brown University), and we are exploring new approaches to scholarly publishing through Brown Library’s Mellon-funded Digital Publishing Initiative. Its mandate is to extend Brown’s mission in supporting projects that engage with emerging forms of digital publication as well as new systems of peer review and scholarly validation, including tenure evaluation.

Making this digital edition involves many people and moving parts, bringing together experts from music, mathematics, and the histories of science and the book, whose research forms the content for a volume of new scholarship co-edited by Tara and I, Furnace and Fugue: A digital edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with scholarly commentary. Our digital edition also features new musical recordings by Les Canards Chantants (solo-voice ensemble directed by Robin Bier) and a groundbreaking discovery about Maier’s compositions by Loren Ludwig (Director, LeStrange Viols).

This digital edition now renders my argument into dynamic form — that Atalanta fugiens is Maier’s audio-visual representation of actual laboratory technology and processes, which conceals a mathematical puzzle that is revealed to the reader upon detecting clues embedded in its music, images, and text, transforming Atalanta’s reading experience into an interactive game…

… stay tuned

Golden Apple!

Atalanta Archives
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© Donna Bilak and dbilakpraxis.com (2012-2017). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna Bilak and dbilakpraxis.com (2012-2017) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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