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This content is taken from the Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona & Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona's online course, Understanding Ramon Llull: ​Philosophy, Arts and Science through the Ars Combinatoria. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds We are right in the thick of a Mediterranean forest. Why a forest? Why the trees? The tree is one of the other important symbols in Ramon Llull’s thinking. In fact, it is like a ladder, connecting Heaven and Earth. But we must also bear in mind that there are the roots, the trunk and the branches. Therefore, the tree is the symbol of the great encyclopaedia of all knowledge. Llull wrote many books with titles such as Tree of Science or the Tree of the philosophy of love with the idea that the tree is the instrument that leads us to knowledge. This installation, by the artist Perejaume, is called The root of the tree is a wheel.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second In fact, this is a sentence by Ramon Llull in one of his books: The beginnings of medicine. The wheel that is the root of the tree are the principles,

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds the universal principles: the names of God but also the powers of the knowledge of mankind and this is what functions as a root. Above this root are the branches, the trunk and the various fields of knowledge. In this installation, the trees turn about themselves, not just reproducing Ramon Llull’s idea, according to which logic, reason, must be at the base of all that flourishes, that comes out of the earth, but also have a certain mystical inspiration. Just think of the dance of the Dervishes, who whirl while they dance. In fact, this is a cosmic dance. Llull also wrote books with a certain literary argument, fiction, but which in fact sought to convey his doctrine, his ideas.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 seconds One of the most important books, along with Blanquerna, is the Felix or the Book of wonders, about a young man, we could say Ramon Llull’s alter ego, who journeys the world and always travels through forests where he encounters a series of wise people, one Jewish, one Christian and one Muslim, who want reach an agreement. In this Book of wonders there is a chapter, the best known of all, called the Book of the beasts, that has, in fact, been transmitted over the centuries as a separate book. This Book of the beasts has a tradition, too, in the history of literature, with origins in India.

Skip to 2 minutes and 42 seconds There is a book called Panchatantra, commissioned by a king and then translated into Persian, and from Persian into Arabic under the name of Kalila wa-Dimna that tells the story of two jackals who speak between themselves, in the form of allegories. Translations into Latin and several romance languages are known about and, in fact, Llull renders a version of this great tradition, which shows a large network; not just of philosophical, theological and scientific principles, but also of this great network that is literature, which in a way also arrives at the great creators of the 20th century, such as Borges, or Italo Calvino with The invisible cities, which apply the Ars combinatoria also to literature.

Skip to 3 minutes and 31 seconds In the installation by Perejaume not only do we have forests with rolling turning, but also some singers who recite, who sing, texts from books by Ramon Llull, accompanied by Mediterranean melodies, in this case from Corsica.

The Tree

This video hinges around the symbol of the tree and by extension, the forest. We explore works by Llull as well as the audiovisual installation by the contemporary artist Perejaume.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Ramon Llull: ​Philosophy, Arts and Science through the Ars Combinatoria

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

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