Latham, John, 1921-2006. (15 of 18). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    1998-03-26 and 1998-04-06 and 1999-02-19 and 2000-07-18

  • Recording locations

    Interviewer's home, London, United Kingdom

  • Interviewees

    Latham, John, 1921-2006 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Steveni, Barbara, 1928- (speaker, female), Roberts, Melanie (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 15. (18th July 2000) John Latham (JL), when asked to talk about his recent research activities at Imperial College and Cambridge University, summarises his art/scientific activities, covering ground heard on earlier tapes. He then moves on to giving a detailed account of the difference between Chris Islam. of Imperial College's view of two kinds of time and his own belief that there are three types. Through this connection Sian Ede of the Gulbenkian Foundation got JL funding from InIva to go to the Newton Institute in Cambridge. This gave him an opportunity to go to lectures on cosmology where, undaunted by his inability to understand the mathematics of the discussion, he was excited by the way the scientists' language began to touch on how it might be possible to talk about 'events'. This leads on to M talking about the opposition between Descarte's dualistic legacy and the possibility of getting language to conform to an event structured universe. He describes one of the astro-physicists, Jenner Levin picking up on this and talking about knowledge of the US art scene enabling a moment of translation between science and art. JL goes on to discuss Constantina Savvidou, one of CI's students, coming up with the idea of exploring two types of time. He then charts the recent moment when the theory of quantum gravity came under scrutiny and the implications that has for his theory and for that of Savvidou who is working under Isham's supervision. Islam, working in collaboration with an Oxford scientist Jeremy Butterfield, has commented that there is 'all to play for', which Latham interprets as a time event framework. He is hoping that Imperial will get funding from NESTA for a two year investigation into a new time related system in which JL plans an open exchange between his theories and theirs. He expands on what this might mean for society. JL draws this possibility into a declaration of the responsibility of his ideas which he links to O & I's activities and through this means reinforces the relevance of theory to O & I and by association to APG.

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