Serendipity: Thinking Against Logic

A. Raila "Overture" 2012

A. Raila “Overture” 2012

14-24 September 2015, Nida, Lithuania

According to the definition “coincidence” is a “a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance”… (, however it is a total coincidence that “serendipity” is known as …”the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way” or it is…”the act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for it” ( It is a “pleasant surprise”, that the definition “serendipity” has emerged from a Persian fairy tale on three princes of Serendip, who travelled and discovered what they were not looking for, and that this fairy tale refers to widely known folk tales with the third dumb brother(1).

According to such tales it may seem that serendipity and stupidity always go together, as when the dumb brother, instead of going straight, is wandering around wherever he wishes or where one takes him to, in the end he still finally finds what he was looking for. The result is always unexpectedly pleasant, the other characters are all friendly and the frog turns out to be a princess, and then his wife.

Therefore “…stupidity is always somewhere else. Once it has been named and located, it looses its awkward features. Recognised stupidity becomes wisdom” (Matthijs van Boxsel The Encyclopædia of Stupidity). In such case the stupidity itself becomes the question – is our irrational behaviour the sign of quantum features in our thinking?

This annually organised laboratory in Nida will gather art and science practitioners in reaction to the scientific supposition according to which illogic and non pragmatic human decisions follow the mathematical principles of quantum physics. In other words, this is the suggestion to reconsider the meaning of irrational human thinking in the light of daily circumstances.

“Serendipity” will be led by artist Artūras Raila together with Danius Kesminas (AU), and with contributions by artists and scientists Mindaugas Gapševičius (LT/DE), Alvydas Lukys (LT), Boris Patrik Kremer (DE), Algirdas Javtokas (LT), Brian Degger (AU/UK). The event will consist of a series of lectures, workshops, expeditions, sessions of intense collaborative work and will end with a public presentation of projects and ideas.

The event is organised by Institutio Media in collaboration with Vilnius Academy of the Arts. The project is partly funded by Nordic Culture Point and Lithuanian Council For Culture.

(1) Such fairy tales would always start with “there was a man and he had three sons two of which were clever and the third one was very kind but everyone called him stupid”; and they would end with “the wedding was very joyful and the happiest of all was the kind dumb brother”.