Art-Science Calendar of Events NYC


This calendar is an initiative of the Art Science Observatory, in collaboration with SciArt in America, Beautiful Brain, Ligo projects, Dactyl Foundation and other art/science organizations.

Josip Novakovich, reading with introduction by Victoria N. Alexander

Now, if it were she, it would be quite a coincidence! As if fate had contrived this chance for Milan to act courageously and to right one of his previous failures.
Milan acts on this misrecognition. He kills the captain. He revives the woman, who, it turns out, is a stranger named Olga. Milan then flees the army.

Then, many weeks later, he happens to meet Olga in another town, by chance, as she is on her way to an abortion clinic. She says she’s pregnant from the rape. Milan convinces her to marry him and they raise the child together. Time passes. Olga finds a photograph of her dead father and shows it to Milan. Milan recognizes her father as the unarmed the man whom his captain had made him kill. Milan confesses to the killing, and then confesses that he had raped her while she was unconscious. The child is actually his.

It can’t be easy to come to terms with what one does in a time of war, especially if your victims do not remain strangers. Novakovich is good at complicating matters.
Now how is this a “story” like Oedipus Rex? It would be complicated to discover that you had killed your future father-in-law or been raped by your future husband. Just as it would be complicated to discover that you had killed your father or married your son.
What are the chances that a random crime will turn out to be extremely meaningful? When Milan discovers that the first and only man he ever killed in war turned out to be his father in law, he says to Olga:

That’s amazing bad luck. How many people lived in Vukovar? Thirty thousand? Two thousand men in their fifties? And to chance upon your father … But not to chance upon anybody would have been even more likely.

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