he Reasonable Cyborg takes as a given that technology, no matter how powerful, is instrumental to naked human intention. Some RCs may grant that it is possible for naked humans, through inattention, laziness or lack of insight to cede their agency to technological processes. They may advocate that Cyborgs periodically unplug from technology enough to disrupt habits that reinforce this agency cessation. They may suggest various strategies to better manage the incursions into human agency technology may make including various forms of meditation or mindfulness, or simply taking a walk in places they like to designate as Nature.
Listening to music is difficult for me. Many aphasiacs find music soothing, even helpful in increasing fluency. I find attending to music at least agitating, and it can easily lead to serious sensory overload.
My understanding is that music and speech processing use both unique and shared brain areas. So my experience of music as an intense version of listening to another person talk makes sense. I might compare it perhaps to the pain of moving with a significant musko-skeletal impairment.
At any rate, I ran across a video of a string quartets performance of Andrew Greenwald’s A Thing is a Hole in a Thing it is Not. Back in the day, we listened to a pretty wide array of music, so I had some context for this. What I found interesting was that it is pretty easy to imagine that many/most people will hear this piece kinda as I do now – irritating noise.
Making my way though it, I can hear that there’s much more to it than that. In pre-injury days I probably would have found it quite interesting musically.
Now, experiencing it as irritating noise, makes it easier for me to listen to than a more conventional piece. In fact, I can appreciate it spatially quite nicely. The title certainly suggests that Greenwald intends the piece to evoke conceptual and spatial experiences as well as a musical one.
In an interview, Greenwald does discuss this along with a wide range of issues including the relationship of the score to the performance, intention to execution, and the aesthetics of composition to those of listening. Some short excerpts are as follows.
I started out interested in noise vs pitch.
there’s no rhythmic in a literal sense. (Interviewer: It’s a weird spatial thing you’ve got going on). Right.
(talking about the gap between his intentions, whats on the page, and actual performances) I have control over the general temporal landscape and also the verticalities.
invariably both (aesthetics and practicality of the score) have a level of presence no matter [how] my aesthetics tell me to align myself.
people who are even non-musicains,people want to see what’s going on (and want to see the score) 1:001
Is it acceptable for things to be inscrutable, or do we want clarity?
You create some kind of wrapper or container that allows people to see something unfold…that there might be some kind of truth behind this overwhelming aural experience..
audibly perceived form containers that are put around things that embrace the larger polemic.
You’re the only one that will know it’s the simpler thing
the simpler the better!
creating forms and creating algorithms that are easier to hear and not harder to hear.
I found video of 2 separate performances of the piece. One shows the quartet performing it. The musicians wring the sounds from their instruments as much as play them or sit, looking at the score, not playing.
The other provides the score pages that correspond to the portion of the piece being played. Here the silences that are part of the piece are presented as (relatively) empty score pages.
Together, the two present many of the issues Greenwald discusses. In turn they are relevant to thinking about and describing my relationship to stimulus in general and music in particular.
For many occupants, experiencing contrast between digital and analog space can heighten the vividheuristicsense of first person now-ness that can become dulled with immersion in one or the other.
An occupant’s perception ofeitheras unexpectedly stale can damage, possibly destroy, the transmuted fourth wall of the
space encouraging, but not completing, a sense of ruin-ness.
Spaces become ruined by decay, (dead links, crumbling walls), the encroachment of the out-of-place (trees growing through roofs, obvious spam in the Comments)and progressive temporal decontextualization. This is an
a-sequentialality rather than an a-temporality. The de-purposing of such spaces depends, as everything depends, on a/the defining point of view. A completely de-purposed spaceistheonly completely ruined space.
Time and space do not easily cohabit. The
mere passage of un-updated time opens discoherent voids between mediated space and the occupant. Is it loss or
inability, amnesia or aphasia, ghost or monster ?
This can reproduce the politics of trauma,whichisall politics, in the encounter with mediated space,whichisallspac e.