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Io

For nine instruments (1999/2000)

I’ve been taken with Greek mythology for a long time. It fascinates me with its unfathomable cruelty, inevitability, and its themes that have remained relevant for us to this day. And underneath that, the foreignness: an existential experience that applies to me personally.

Io, who has been banished from her home by her father, keeps fleeing, with no end in sight. Her flight leads her into infinity. Yet, she encounters the bound Prometheus. They meet at the abyss of torment. Io is wandering aimlessly from West to East, from North to South.

Unlike Han Shan, the Chinese monk, who chooses his own vanishing point. He reaches the top of “Cold Mountain” by leaving the “world of dust” behind. Nothing remains of his presence on earth, except for his trail. Poems testify to his existence. They explain nothing, neither the world, nor his fate.

The winding, rocky path of the search for one’s self leads to the only true Han Shan, who is doubtlessly real…

The man from “Cold Mountain” will always exist. He alone is alive. No birth, and no death.

Younghi Pagh-Paan (Translation by Alexandra Schulz)



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