Event-structure

Theory proposed by the British artist JOHN LATHAM which stresses the importance of process over product: structures in events (through time) are more valid than structure in art objects (in space).

In 1967 Latham’s ideas were adopted by THEO BOTSCHIVER, JEFFREY SHAW and SEAN WELLESLEY-MILLER who formed the Event-structure Research Group (ERG) in Amsterdam. They proposed an alternative to ‘museum art’ by staging public events, encouraging physical participation, ‘operational art’ and ‘art of real consequences’.

In mathematics and computer science, an event structure represents a set of events, some of which can only be performed after another (there is a dependency between the events) and some of which might not be performed together (there is a conflict between the events).

Formal definition

An event structure {\displaystyle (E,\leq ,\#)} consists of

  • a set {\displaystyle E} of events
  • a partial order relation on {\displaystyle E} called causal dependency,
  • an irreflexive symmetric relation {\displaystyle \#} called incompatibility (or conflict)

such that

  • finite causes: for every event {\displaystyle e\in E}, the set {\displaystyle [e]=\{f\in E\mid f\leq e\}} of predecessors of {\displaystyle e} in {\displaystyle E} is finite
  • hereditary conflict: for every events {\displaystyle d,e,f\in E}, if {\displaystyle d\leq e} and {\displaystyle d\#f} then {\displaystyle e\#f}.

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