Dwelling Xenakis: An augmented reality project on ‘Evryali’ for piano solo

Pavlos Antoniadis1,2, Aurélien Duval1, Jean-François Jégo3, Makis Solomos4, Frédéric Bevilacqua5

1EUR-ArTeC – Université Paris 8, France
2TU Berlin-Audiokommunikation – Humboldt Stiftung, germany
3NREV-AIAC – Université Paris 8
, France
4Musidanse –  Université Paris 8, France
5UMR STMS IRCAM-CNRS- Sorbonne University, France



Iannis Xenakis’Evryali is his second piece for solo piano (1973). The title means “another name for Medusa. It means wide sea” (Xenakis), and we know that the sea (a rough sea more than the calm sea of a gulf) is an important reference for Xenakis’ music. The piece is mainly composed through graphics. It is the first piece where Xenakis draws “arborescences”: “a tangle of lines in pitch-time space. This entanglement […] undergoes rotations, dilations, deformations, etc.”. (ibid.). Two other types of sonorities are used: repeated notes or chords and point sound clouds. The whole composition is rather simple, even if the global form is not very clear (like in other Xenakis’s pieces); it works with exploiting one sonority after the other and, from the middle of the piece till the end, there is a fragmentation leading to a kind of exhaustion of the material.

Evryali is a very difficult and exhausting piece for the performer. The same probably for the listener, because of Xenakis’ harsh sonorities and dramaticity. This project would propose a way to “dwell” Xenakis’ music in the ecological sense of the word, that is through constructing multiple links between the existence of the piece, the body and mind of the performer, the surrounding space, the listeners and their affects and so on.

We will address these questions through a new paradigm of pianists’ interaction with Xenakis’ notation, defined as embodied navigation and inspired by radical embodied cognition (Antoniadis, 2018, Antoniadis and Chemero, 2021). Its novelty lies in ecologically rethinking the classic notion of textual interpretation as embodied interaction, and musical performance itself as a dynamic system The paradigm has been materialized in the GesTCom (Gesture Cutting through Textual Complexity) (Antoniadis, 2018), a dedicated interactive system for learning notated music. At a first stage, it is a modular, sensor-based environment for the analysis, processing and real-time control of complex piano notation through multimodal recordings. Recently, we have integrated live full body motion capture and augmented reality applications to create a hybrid space consisting of symbolic and physical elements, a sort of ‘palimpsest’ for interactive scenography.

We will be presenting the documentation of a recent augmented reality concert at Université Paris 8, trying to address the tensions between textual interpretation and embodied performance and offering a vision for the new generations of Xenakis’ performers.

Keywords: Xenakis’ performance practice, embodied cognition, ecology of music, augmented reality, motion capture



Pavlos Antoniadis (PhD in musicology, University of Strasbourg-IRCAM; MA in piano performance, University of California, San Diego; MA in musicology, University of Athens) is a pianist, musicologist and technologist from Korydallos, Athens, Greece, currently based in France. He performs complex contemporary and experimental music, studies embodied cognition and develops tools for technology-enhanced learning and performance. He is postdoctoral researcher at EUR ArTeC, Paris 8, and following up at the Berlin Institute of Technology (TU-Audiokommunikation) as a Humboldt Stiftung scholar.


French visual artist specialized in real-time 3d and living in Paris, Aurélien Duval has a hybrid profile between arts and technologies. He has both academic and professional experiences: he learned first computer graphics (modeling, texturing, optimization and integration in real-time 3d engines), then he discovered in 2012 the Unity software. He dove into the world of coding and bringing life to virtual worlds and he designs since then augmented and virtual reality experiences for desktop or mobile platforms. He has a professional background in industrial fields: vehicle simulators, real estate catalogs, training applications for telecom technicians. He is currently finishing a masters degree in arts and technologies at Paris 8 university. He focuses now on creating the link between artists and developers in order to smooth out the creation workflow as well as developing his own aesthetics. His interests go towards live performance, installations and music.


Jean-François JEGO, living and working in Paris, is associate professor at the Arts & Technologies de l’Image Department of the Faculty of Arts at the Université Paris 8 in France. He is also artist-researcher at the INREV Virtual Reality Laboratory where he creates immersive and interactive experiences, art installations and digital performances hybridizing Virtual and Augmented Reality. His research topics question human perception and the aesthetics of interaction, exploring embodied cognition and interaction, focusing on the expressivity of human and virtual gestures in digital art. His artworks and performances have been exhibited internationally in France, Taiwan and in many venues including Ars Electronica (Austria), Cyberfest (Russia), IEEE VR and ACM Multimedia conferences (USA). As a curator, in 2016 Jean-François presented the artworks of forty artists at the third international symposium on Movement and Computing MOCO’16 in Greece. He is co- founder of the international Think-Tank GAIIA Gesture & Artificial Intelligence in Industry and Arts and of the artistic collective VRAC.


Makis Solomos note Born in Greece and living in France, Makis Solomos is Professor of musicology at the University Paris 8 and director of the research team MUSIDANSE. He has published many articles and books about new music. His main fields of research are the focus on sound, the notion of musical space, new musical technics and technologies, the mutations of listening… He is also one of the main international Xenakis’ specialists, to whom he devoted many publications and symposiums. He is co-founder of the review Filigrane. Musique, esthétique, sciences, société. His last book deals with an important mutation of today’s music: From Music to Sound. The Emergence of Sound in 20th- and 21st-Century Music (Routledge, 2020). His recent researches focuse on sound ecology and on performing Xenakis’ music (both instrumental and electroacoustic). He is preparing a book on sound ecology and co-directs the project Arts, ecologies, transitions. Building a common reference, and he is also preparing a book on Xenakis’ music.


Frédéric Bevilacqua is head researcher at IRCAM in Paris, leading the team Sound Music Movement Interaction, in the research lab Science & Technology for Music and Sound between (IRCAM, CNRS and Sorbonne Université). His research concerns the modeling and the design of movement-sound interaction, and the development of gesture-based interactive systems. He holds a master degree in physics and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Optics from EPFL in Lausanne. He also studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and has participated in different music and media arts projects. From 1999 to 2003 he was a researcher at the University of California Irvine. In 2003 he joined IRCAM as a researcher on gesture analysis for music and performing arts. He co-authored more than 150 scientific publications and co-authored 5 patents. His research projects and installations were presented internationally, including the Pompidou Center, MoMA (USA), ZKM (Germany), EMPAC (USA), YCAM (Japon). He was keynote or invited speaker at several international conferences such as the ACM TEI’13. As the coordinator of the “Interlude project”, he was awarded in 2011 the 1st Prize of the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition (Georgia Tech) and received the award “prix ANR du Numérique” from the French National Research Agency (category Societal Impact, 2013).