Deeply Organized Chaos: Getting into the swing of Simplicity and Complexity | Workshop led by Manuel Eguia | 22-26/06/2020

In this workshop on Chaos theory, we shall invite non-scientists to undertake a whimsical and hopefully pleasant path through the history of physics in the quest for simple laws and structures among the “multiplicity and confusion of things”, in Newton’s words. His law of Universal Gravitation, formulated using simple and elegant mathematical formulae, is perhaps the paradigmatic example of such a successful quest. Yet soon it was apparent that even for the case of only three bodies interacting gravitationally (like for instance the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun) the possible solutions turn out to be multiple and confusing.

At the end of 19th century, studying a simplified version of this problem, the mathematician Henri Poincaré found a solution so complex that in his own words he was “not even attempting to draw”. The new tools developed by Poincaré led to the development of Chaos theory during the last decades of the 20th century, widely popularised by the image of a “flap of butterfly’s wing in Brazil setting off a tornado in Texas”. This interest for chaotic and complex behaviours arising from simple rules came along with a process swinging in the opposite direction through the discovery of new simplicities, hidden forms of order, and universal patterns emerging from otherwise disordered systems in different domains of science. Dramatic examples of this swinging between order and chaos can be found in the formation of whirlpools in the atmosphere, flocking in birds, fibrillation in heart attacks and bubbles in financial markets.

In this workshop we shall drive through and over these non-equivalent antagonisms: order/chaos, simplicity/complexity and determinism/chance, with the help of concrete examples, conceptualizations accessible to the non-experts, and also through aesthetic and embodied experiences (explorations with fractals, jam sessions with nonlinear dynamics, and forays into the wilderness of the forests that surround the site of the workshop).

The workshop will take place during three days (starting on June 22 in the morning and ending on June 26 in the afternoon) interspersed by two “free” days in which the participants will have the time to rest and/or work through the new material.

The workshop will be free (besides the accommodation and meals expenses).

Dates: June 22– June 26, 2020.
Location: Performing Arts Forum in Saint Erme, France
Accommodation: 18€ per night if you stay more than 5 nights, otherwise, it is 20€ per night.
PAF membership: 12€ one-year.
Meal expenses: 15€ per day.
Teaching fee: None

The maximum number of participants is 40 persons. People who attend the whole workshop will have priority. Reservations – by writing to– are mandatory. For questions about this Workshop, you can get in touch with Manuel Eguia (

In order to organize the cooking, we shall need at least five volunteers to take care in advance of the shopping and the organization of the ingredients in the storage. Without these volunteers, the workshop cannot run smoothly.

Manuel Eguia is a physicist and an artist, founder of the Acoustic and Sound Perception Lab (LAPSo) at the College of Arts, National University of Quilmes (Argentina). This workshop is part of the L.I.F.E. project conducted at PAF by Gabriel Catren and has received funding from the Laboratoire International Associé (LIA) Identities, Forces, Quanta (CNRS, Laboratoire SPHERE - Sciences, Philosophy, Histoire, UMR 7219).