Specials Einstein and Bergson in Three Acts Ⅱ: Einstein and Women

Organizer PSA
“Theory Opera”— A Project by Shanghai 11th Biennale

Einstein and Bergson in Three Acts Ⅱ: Einstein and Women

Time: Feb.12 (Sunday) 16:30-17:00

Venue: PSA 2F Exhibition Hall 5

Written by Jimena Canales

Read by Elsie Chen, BABE Cheng

Einstein and Bergson: An Opera in Physics and Philosophy with Original Quotations from Various Authorsis composed of dialogues between scientists, philosophers and other characters. These utterances involve the texture of love, the past of time, and tools and technology around us. The non-fiction part of the opera is composed of some history files. Most of them interfere with personal ideas and experience, which are often hidden by the scientists because they take them as stain in their lives. Considering all these facts, the opera will show a more fancy reality than the non-fiction works do.

▲Einstein and Bergson Ⅰ(English Version) :Raqs, the chief curator of the 11th Shanghai Biennale is acting as Einstein and Bergson herself

In this “Theory Opera”, through the recombination of the rare historical facts, a new way to understand our position in the space has been put forward. The opera is not only an accurate representation of historical facts, but also an untraditional performance characterized by narration, speculation and opera features.

▲Einstein and Bergson Ⅰ(Chinese Version)

The opera this week will concentrate on Einstein and women in his life, telling us this scientist’s hover between emotion and ration. The performance will be presented through oral narration to show Einstein’s sense and sensibility.

Einstein and his women

▲Einstein in his peep-toe sandals for fun

Einstein is known for his academy research such as General Relativity and the special theory of relativity. After his death, more aspects of his life have been revealed to people along with the revelation of his personal letters, which includes his relationships. Einstein is a passionate person, and within his lifetime, there has been many women including his two wives: Mileva Marić and Elsa, and many lovers. Through these letters, we’ve found that this scientist not only did well in academic essays well, but also in love letters. His imagination and passion exists in both the scientific research and the relationships. 

▲Einstein and his first wife MilevaMarić

Einstein once said: "Marriage is a continuation of the accident to try to fail." This sentence is the exact description of his two marriages. His first wife, MilevaMarić, a scientist, had gave birth to two children for him. But because of the opposition from Einstein's parents and Mary's character of being inner and introverted and jealous, their marriage gradually stepped toward the contradictions and conflicts. After the family's estrangement, Einstein and his cousin Alsa got in touch through the letter. Alsace became his painful life "shelter", writing letters was a "real substitute."

At that time, the developed postal system gave Einstein the opportunity to love. He thought that "love" can be sent and received through the post office. And he believed that love gave him the "great imagination" to allow the "Astronomical distance" between the two be overcome. So he wrote in the letter countless "kiss". He even sent a sketch of his feet to Elsa. He said, "how happy and proud I will be, when the two of us draw the study of the relative movement to a victory conclusion!

▲Mileva Marić and her two children

However, being in love with Elsa, Einstein did not divorce Marie. He took two children as an excuse instead, and made a deal with Mileva that she should make sure that his clothes were cleaned, the room was cleaned, three meals were served, and her personal relationship was disposed, and she should absolutely obey his orders and neverbelittle him in front of the children. These unreasonable treaties and unequal relations have strengthened Mileva's determination to leave Einstein. In 1919, Mileva took two children away and divorced with Einstein.

▲Einstein and his second wife Elsa in Grand Canyon, 1931, via Buzzfeed

After the first marriage, Einstein married Elsa. However, this marriage did not go well. After getting along with each other, Einstein found himself prefer long distance love. He was used to the "astronomical distance" between them. As the rapid development of telegraph, telephone, X-ray and other new technologies, people expect these technological innovations can shorten the distance between lovers. But Einstein found that new technologies did not create "natural communication", but instead breed more "hungry souls". The "kiss" he had written through the letter was blocked by these souls. People full of love would step to the death……

▲Einstein and his second wife Elsa