The tech calculates, we wonder What if?
The tech measures, we balance.
The tech generates data sets, we create ad hoc.
The tech recalls perfectly, we remember fleetingly.
The tech suggests if this, then that?, we associate by other means.
The tech presents patterns, we seek meanings.
The tech proliferates options, we seek constraints.
The tech makes loops and redundancies, we make variations.
The tech never tires, we lose interest.
The tech updates to version 2.1.1, we gain experience.
The tech is literal, we read metaphor.
The tech eavesdrops, we keep it to ourselves.
The tech curates ambient awareness, we focus on one thing at a time.
The tech has no end game, we are clocks ticking.
• DRUMMINGat50, a website about the history, composition, and performance practice of Steve Reich’s Drumming, a seminal piece of 20th- (and 21st-) century acoustic music. I contributed an essay, which is here.
“…oral culture is not suited to certain kinds of knowledge accumulation and legibility of the world, some of which is necessary to hold our institutions together. And this underappreciated transition is certainly one big reason for the current tension in this historic transition: because of technology, oral psychodynamics have broken through at scale, and we are trying to manage them with institutions that operate solely through an within print/written culture. And that cannot, will not, hold without adjustment.”
• An article and video about whistling as language.
“Like poetry, whistling does not need to be useful in order to be special and beautiful.”
(Addendum: As it happens, Drumming has become a kind of oral culture, taught and learned from one musician to another. The piece also incorporates whistling.)
“Usually I try to find a balance between a rhythmic pattern and filter modulations which together articulate some interesting quality. For me, sketch is a strange word because it means something like trying to manifest an idea. Of course I have some kind of idea, but many times I just look at my idea as a starting point and then I let the technology change it. So basically my idea is an input for the environment in which I’m working, and then there is an output which carries out the idea and the properties of the technology itself. This way I think there is a better chance to end up at musical situations which are not predefined.”
“To ‘follow someone’s feet’ is to share their rhythm and to feed off their energy, and leading or pacemaking is therefore often described by the runners in Addis as ‘bearing someone else’s burden.’ The runners are expected to learn to share their energy and to improve together.”
“When runners ask, ‘Condition yet alle?‘ (‘Where is condition?’) they are referring at once to the mysterious and fickle nature of ‘condition’ as a physical property and to its environmental location, or rather the combination of environments that will lead to them making the improvements they need to make.”
Michael Crawley, Out Of Thin Air (2021)