20201126

Reciting Citations

A team of writers assemble in a circle. Each remember should bring with them a list of writers and thinkers, whom they have referred to in their latest draft or publication. The senior member of the group makes sure everyone understands the rules and initiates the song.

  1. Call out the names in your list in alphabetical order. Follow this structure: “Lastname, firstname is in my list” and repeat it four times. If a text you are citing has multiple authors, each of them should be called out independently. But wait for the group to respond before continuing.
  2. After a name has been called out, members of the circle will respond to it by singing “Lastname, firstname is not on our list” and repeating it four times.
  3. If someone in the circle has the name in their list they are to remain silent. After the response of the circle is completed they should respond by singing “Lastname, firstname is in my list” (four times) to which the group will respond to by singing “Lastname, firstname is not on our list” (four times).
  4. If someone in the circle wants to include the name to a list they are planning, they should respond with “Lastname, firstname will be on my list” (four times).
  5. After this cycle the person who initiated the call out will continue following the alphabetical order of their list, to which members of the circle will respond according to the rules.
  6. After the first person has gone trough their entire reference list, the person on their left will continue following the same melody and rhythm. Excluding the names that have already been sung.

20201123

Popular ecologically geared art in Finland (art which aspired to advance global ecological sustainability) of the early 2000 was founded on the premise that if people would be made aware of their personal impact on the environment, they would automatically rectify their behavior. This dream lives on in apps which measure domestic power consumption and personal carbon admissions. The assumption of these dreams is that if rich people (people who are responsible for the ecological collapse) are made to see the scale of resources their lifestyles depend on, they will seize their harmful activity and better themselves.

Evidence shows that representations or even direct depictions of suffering rich people cause, are not enough for stirring up a desire for personal change. Which is why the current grant scheme is that audiences have to be trained how to relate, experience and to feel their impact on others. Feeling the suffering of others is expected lead them to adjust their behavior accordingly. In other words artists are aiming to affect change by re-working on their audiences skills in empathy.

Both approaches assume that humans are benign or rational, and that catastrophes are a result of a lack of knowledge or a lack of skills (in empathy). I think we should develop approaches which are based on the assumption that people harm others intentionally and enjoy doing it. It should be argued that western lifestyles are a death cult and people desire death. This does not mean that they want to die, but it seems they need to be in its proximity for stuff to make sense. There exists an addiction to blood.

Both approaches deploy sneaky pedagogy. The audiences curiosity towards arts and artists is used as a vessel for infusing them with knowledges which alter their behavior. Early ecologically geared art in Finland attempted to shock audiences back on a track of rationality (Wake up! To the suffering eating meat causes!). Later ecologically geared art seduces and allures audiences to modify their emotional responses and behavior (What is this think with sleepy metaphors? Whats the deal with people being simultaneously woken and shamed for not dreaming of anew?) These changes echo the shift from the control of bodies, to the control of desires.

I want to acknowledge artistic responses to ecological concerns, which assume that people are evil but that it is ok and can lead to fun results. Its fun to be alive. I, for one, have been bombarded by depictions of global catastrophes since childhood. When I close my eyes I can visualize the color schemes of movies, where the survival of the human race is dependent of the resilience of special individuals. Dealing with this imagery and the trauma it caused, is what I’m after when identifying as a recovering survivalist.

The survival stories are centered on character arcs but what supports the arc is the actuality that everyone else is dead. Those movies (and that art I made), are not a celebration of the resourcefulness of man, they are enjoyment over the succulent presence of death. Dead is the only thing a resourceful man is not. It is the landscape or backdrop which offers contrast to their shape.

These depictions (and all representations of human resourcefulness) are reboot-fantasies. They enforce the idea that a singular moment in time, the moment of innovation, could work as a fixed point in which the fate of the world is in human hands. A space rocket launch is good illustration of this dream. A monumental gesture, pushing a button to launch a ship from earth, enforces the idea that all life is progressing at the same pace and that all life is in contact. But I think life is not necessarily in contact with all-other-life and not-all-life on the planet makes sense.

The environmental collapse (we are intentionally progressing towards) is presented as a global phenomenon which resets all-life to the same baseline. It gives a rush. But this depiction is a manifestation of a particular and particularly modern mindset. It has aesthetic baggage and assumes what life is like.

A good example is a recent article on rural cat communities in Finland. (Paheneva kissakriisi… / yle.fi). The article details how escaped cats have formed super-local communities (some groups had 250 cats) and focuses on groups which habit very small areas (one population lived primarily under a bridge). As these communities don’t move, they inbreed, which brings about an array of anomalies. The text depicts a case were inbreeding led to a kitten growing the organs inside out. This is not how life is not supposed to look like, hence their existence is interpreted as suffering – According to the article these rural mutant kitten groups are terminated regularly.

This is evidence that time does not progress at the same pace for all. Some of us live in pockets. An environmental collapse only makes sense if you assume that we are all equally effected by pollutants. We are not. It carries with it a dream that we will all come together in death. We will not. The resourcefulness of the mutant kitten groups is deemed horrifying because it shows the shape of things to come.

20201117

Enjoying the llllllll forum Orca thread. At first glance the chronological, borderline endless stretch of text appears wastefully organized. Developer notes, memes, old resolved bug reports, feature requests and snippets of code are shared in the same page along with notes on gig venues across the globe. The non-scripting related posts make the thread enjoyable and provide a low-key entrypoint to the Orca/llllllll scene. After reading for a while the thread starts to feel like a space and sets a mood for learning. I’m inadvertently introduced to the history of the program (different development phases), the person who programs it, people who use it and niches of their behavior. As I’m working trough the body of the text to gain elementary skills for working in the Orca environment, I’m simultaneously learning to identity the stylistic quirks of frequent contributors and exposed to the sounds they make.

For learning a new skill I’m relying on some kind of unresolved narrative: Relations I form with abstract usernames and the script fragments they paste to a thread. This being ultimately a textual experience, I notice that I’m involved in a world building process. I’m copying someones script to form an auditive creation only I hear. Working on Norns I use Orca to trigger samples, so the copied scripts produce different sounds to the examples contributors have posted. But the actual sounds are not important for learning. What I’m looking for is the emergence of the same script behavior and patterns of noises they produce. Our patches are similar, they obey the same rules and as I read the thread, and meticulously transcribe the coded text snippets to my screen, we —different users— play and build pattern-islands into the same universe. Below is an example of user neauoire’s condensing of an Allieway_Audio Linear Feedback Shift Register (LFSR) script.

05O..05OS
aV...bV..
..2Kab...
...F.....
..F*.....
7L.......
........0

The anecdotes authors share on the thread (videos on instagram) serve as anchor points for remembering features of the Orca operators. Some notes are autobiographical, such as documentations of live gigs. The patterns I draft on my screen remind me of the anecdotes and link my learning progress to theirs. This reminds me of the endless library Jorge Borges drafted. The abstract script snippets Orca users use for communicating a vibe, are nonsensical literary creations which require a complicated machine to transcribe (which operates on machine code). The feel of the endless library is well described in a recent video The Shape of Infinity (2020) by Jacob Geller.

It is particularly interesting that, in the process of copying fragments of Orca script, the sounds different creators produce from it are different but they appear in the same patterns. They share a structure but produce wildly different musical outcomes.

I don’t think this is the same conundrum as the relationship which musical notations have to the sounds musicians produce from their instruments. When I observe how a script plays a sound, I’m not hearing how a someone interprets notations or how their instrument reacts to the their movement. The complexity of the code can affect the sound source (in my case samples) to such an extent that the potential musicality of a pattern is more a result of the script then the timbres of the sound source. Also, our instruments are identical.

Its the same as with blackmidi stuff, where we are not listening to sounds or melodies, we are listening to complexity and forming opinions on the experience by comparing different performances of complexity. Eventually the complexity will cause glitches, which can make the inner conjures of the computer audible. I’ve heard them appear during a live coding performance by Viktor Toikkanen when his computer was pushed to memory overload territory. The machine cried glitches which felt like grains pushing trough the code.

20201115

Build a Norns shield and got it working on a Raspi3 using an old SD card. Bought the PCB from Pursherman (12,26€, mail inc.) and the components from Digikey (70,74 € / +39,08€ import duties). All together 122,08€ for an entry to the Monome world. With import fees the cost for an official kit might have risen to ~280€ (+55€ for a Raspi). The build went smoothly. Previous SMT builds paved the way and I got all the components soldered within five hours. Made a case from scrap plywood by adapting these drawings. There is still some sanding to do and I have to source caps for the d-shaft potentiometers and the buttons. I’m occasional some trouble running Orca and a few other scripts. I believe that a faster SD card will fix the issues but I might eventually opt to get a Raspi3+ (the Raspi3 I’m using is from the Mazizone build which I’d like to keep running anyway). By enlarge everything seems to work well (including updates, running 201113).

For the simple synths (using a keystep for midi) and effects alone a good investment. I’m hoping to learn scripting and if everything feels good might work myself towards a crow. Norns feels feature packed and of course this being something I assembled, it will take time to develop a feel on what is a feature and what is a bug/build issue. Feels stable and powerful so far.

20201106

Returning from Anti festival. Our performances (four two hour long spring tours, one featuring local spring water advocate Sirpa Vuori) and the Water Bar during the event gala were well received. Our collaboration with Tea was smooth and were kindly supported by Thomas Berro. I particularly enjoyed the energy we channeled during the 6h Water Bar session. I completely lost myself to the work and we moved around our bar-table in unison – Staying concentrated on our individual tasks: Preparing cocktails from water which bar customers prompted from us. I think we served over 20 liters of drinks (half of which was from the Poukama spring).

Here is a recipe for Moon Mist which was one of the most coveted drink (Discarded Gravestone with Salt did well too). Moon Mists is the taste of the moon crust as it is presented on Geology of the Moon article. We used 2g of substance per 1l water (Carbonated with 65 bars of pressure to illustrate a spacecrafts entry on Earth). The mount feel was sandy.

  • Quartz stone powder (as a supply for silica) 50%
  • Soda-can tab shavings (Aluminum) 24%
  • Limestone (Chalk) 15%
  • Steel tool flakes (Iron) 7%
  • Hit of Magnesium oxide 7%
  • Touch of Titanium white paint (Titanium) 1%
  • Hint of Sodium oxide 1%

We also served: Tap from Genova (Multia spring seasoned with a big chunk of copper), Poukama Spring (raw unfiltered wild water), Faux S. Pellegrino (recipe here), Finlandia Hall Carrara (marble powder from Finlandia hall with Faux S. P.), Wäinö Aaltonen Travertine (travertine from Wäinö Aaltonen museum wall with Faux S. P.), Berlin Wall Carbonated (Ppowdered Berlin Wall with Faux S. P. and salt), Ammonoidea in Limestone (fossil powder with with Faux S. P. and chalk), Sokos Hotel Puijonsarvi Tap, Private Home on the Rocks, Distilled ’n Chilled and Discarded Gravestone with Salt

Also participated in a TAIKE seminar on Performance as Public Art (my contribution is available as a recording ) and before your shows I gave a short interview for Yle. A busy production and an intensive week. Currently working for Aalto university with Tina Madsen. We are teaching a course called Art, Environment, Education and has little over ten participants. Feels nice to teach. We will be experimenting with Deep Listening next week (as defined by Pauline Oliveros).

Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism (2019) Philosophy Guy. An easygoing video for staying on track with communist fantasy.