KOMPAS BASTL ZINE
Navigating music, navigating life....3 Givan Bela interview.................7 PIETRO GROSSI.......................18 KOMPAS..............................21 KOMPAS Manual.......................25 The Mere Navigation of Plans........30
Navigating music, navigating life Vaclav Pelousek It does not seem to get any easier to make music. It does not seem to get any easier to live life. I have made many interfaces and instruments to help me make the music I hear in my head and sure, yes, I have to say, I am partly succeeding, but it does not become “easier”. The music just does not happen on its own. It still requires a lot of sweat and heart. How do you navigate painlessly from point A to point B in music and in life? You use tools and try to figure out the road beforehand, but plans never seem to be working. At least in my life. Everything seems a bit messy and the further I go the more I have to improvise. I used to make a wish to go back in time to make different decisions along the way, but it would probably miss the point of living real life if you could do that. I think making music has a lot to do with life itself. You can “cheat” to get what you want, to get people where you want. You can choose to not cheat and try to be honest. You can try to figure out what is the difference between cheating and “the real thing”... and you might fail too ... My father in law says: “life is one of the hardest”... There is no undo in
life. Electronic music might seem easier nowadays because you can actually have this safety net of using undo and you can strategize and make some backup plans. But should you? Should we ever want that from music-making? Why shouldn’t we rather design our live sets in a way that it reflects our lives? Would it be more fun to watch? Like a “real” reality show? When you go to see a movie you see the characters struggle and fail, struggle and succeed. Why should watching somebody perform music be only about experiencing success? On a computer, any editing software has that “undo” feature, but it was not always like that. With the invention of “undo”, the lack of such a feature became known as destructive editing. Virtual lives might have undo, but is real life destructive living? Should “real music” be also destructive? I started to use my effects processor Thyme (which I co-designed) as a looper (it was not intended to be that). The workflow is inherently destructive. You put sounds on the tape, and they will come back to you sometime soon, and you can keep adding sounds – you can never erase them. What happened in the past is here to stay for the future. The only thing you can do is to “filter” the past – make it blurred, or you can multiply it to the point when it becomes “unreadable”.
I sometimes try to approach some of my memories in the same way. Some experiences I want to forget â€“ make them blurry, some I want to amplify and multiply, and they might become fuzzy just because I try to do this with them. Looping on the Thyme was definitely NOT designed. It just happened to be a possibility of implementation of another different idea. But ultimately it seems to be mimicking the dynamics of life itself. People of my generation found themselves in a funny position. As kids, we might have dreamed of building better worlds, but now it seems that the best we could achieve in our lifetime is to build an airbag before the inevitable collapse of the ecosystem. We might also try to reduce the speed before the crash, but the crash is coming and it is going to hurt â€“ no matter how hard we try. It already hurts a lot if you realize what happened in the biosphere in the past 40 years. The animals and bugs we used to encounter as kids are not here anymore. The same thing happened to our childhood dreams: most of them are gone. We now need to navigate from point A to point B and we know that point B is gonna be even more painful. In such context: how should our generation make music and even design musical instruments? Here in Europe, we became obsessed with planning the future so that we wouldnâ€™t
fail. But we based our future readings on the false premises of infinite growth. Now we know we failed and that we will need to bear the consequences. We will have to cope with losses and improvise to move on as a society. It seems that these abilities are not natural for us anymore. Maybe if music is analogous to life maybe we can practice these skills thru music and therefore the design of our instruments might embrace such strategies. Maybe we need to be outside of our comfort zones â€“ out there in the danger â€“ failing and learning from our failures.
Givan Bela interview with Stefano Manconi â€œearly spring and climate change walking forward by looking backâ€? 0. Who is who, and identity? A denizen indicates an entity, found living in particular places. Apart from a migrant (immigrant, emigrant, transmigrant), a wanderer (the random walker), a tourist and a shepherd (the ones that always return to a fixed home) [see VilĂŠm Flusser: The Freedom of the Migrant, Objections to Nationalism], a denizen moved away from an original dwelling and tries as much as possible to integrate in the new structure that is called a home. A denizen accepts this new culture only to a certain level, which can be profound, but still keeps a distance and rejects the unacceptable new things around. Maybe individual identity is not so important culturally, rather the sharing and the subjective contribution to this. Individual creativity becomes only of value when it is part of a collaboration, the common, an ecology... Add the fascination for the unexpected, the accidental, an observation for time slowly changing, with once in a while an abrupt disaster. Maybe musicians and other artists are all infested with this denizen virus while working out new ideas for sound and composition,
something harmonic or disturbingly yet unfit for the ears. Many identities, many moods. So: play! 1.Where does the interest for computer/ generative music come from? 1.1. Techno Freudian Memories A vague memory sitting at the table in the living room. My father had taken off the back of the tv set. With a friend, they were replacing bulbs and soldering electronic components in. There was a test image, monoskope. They were turning little knobs inside to adjust the image. They never got it right: the noise bursts, hissing, kHz sine waves that were sweeping through the room, while the image got slanted, hiccupped in different rhythmical jolts, rolled horizontal and vertical, imploded into darkness, left an intense light in the middle, grew into several noise patterns. It couldnâ€™t get pixelated yet. Finally, a technician from down the street had to come to fix it so it became a television again. A note: 10 years later my fatherâ€™s electronic books were totally useless: transistors were the final chapter. 1.2. Sola and Stellingname years The 1970-80s were not only about 3 chord playing guitar bands and reggae (though I still like dub), invented by the fashion and music industry. You
were part of the fraction that was dividing a generation, with on one side the virtuosos and conventionalists, and on the other the amateurs and experimentalists. Suddenly there were bands everywhere, new places would pop up with little improvised stages. The economic depression of the 1st oil crisis left the young without jobs or careers to take care of. I had studied literature and linguistics, but that did not mean a thing. Who had an instrument shared it, and broken instruments were important creative gear. None of it I owned, and after a while, it ended up elsewhere, and other gear came in. Home recording. We were recording all rehearsals and performances, sharing it with others who did the same things, usually differently. I remember at that time reading Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers: Order out of Chaos. In 1987 I started to program in Lisp and switched radically to computers. Peter Beyls gave me some disks with Forth programs and code for HMSL (hierarchical music specification language). Bernard Bel from IRCAM sent me a diskette with his Bol Processor BP2, simulating tabla rhythms with generative Chomsky structures. 2. How does this practice (algorithm music) meet virtual collective organizations involving â€œphysical and non-physical people, including ma-
chinesâ€?? What is society of algorithm and where does the communication take place (other than web)? How does society of algorithm meet ecology? 2.1. The story of the mouse Living in the countryside also makes you think differently towards an environment, composed of living and non-living entities, biotica and non-biotica, machines and mechanisms, where complex interactions constitute anyoneâ€™s presence. Lately, there were mice in the kitchen. Of course, the first reactions range from putting up poison to placing deadly traps. There are other ways, and I am having 2 different ultrasonic sine wave generators, with special speakers (you will kill your normal hi-fi speakers with it). But then again mice get used to it after a couple of weeks. Also, it can give humans a rather strange feeling in the head. I have a Peterson ultrasonic device for listening to bats, and probably my ears are a little trained because of it. So I feel as bad as the mice in the end and then avoid the kitchen as well. When thinking about it, one cannot deny the insanity of the human activity of capturing animals. Why would we love a bird in a cage better than to observe the trajectories it is making while flying? Now, why would
we capture mice even if you set it free 5 km further, and leave their entry hole open? Yes, senseless indeed. It is more efficient to look for the holes and fill them. No mice anymore in the kitchen. So much about technology, environments and how we are living in it. 2.2. Power, sound, light, communicate! In Europe, there is a network of cultural centres that is organizing ecological conferences and festivals. Every year they invite thinkers, artists, ecologists to make conversation about solutions for a better society and against climate change. For one performance they blow out the same amount of energy that a family in Africa is using during a whole year. Instead of pointing at the others for responsibility, artists can do things differently, including working with technology. We are living in interesting times where low voltage gear is widely used for the generation of music. Solar and wind energy is at a level that you can power up systems efficiently, DIY! Sound technology is mostly shaped for eliminating room reflections, and now we are living in an upside-down world, where outdoor concerts are using so much power to give you the idea you are sitting in a concert hall. In reality, in natural environments you can work with fewer watts, and still go loud if you want to. But there is more, you discov-
er the beauty of light, wind and other natural phenomena. All these things were developed in longer time projects we set up collectively with other artists. For instance, ‘A laboratory on the open fields’ was inspired by an essay with the same title by Jean-Henri Fabre (ALOTOF, initiated by the artist organization OKNO, 2013-15). Lately, I am working with some international artists living in Berlin, which I met while working on a Documenta radio piece ‘Weather Reports’. After working for years outdoors, the confinement of the radio studio was claustrophobic and suffocating. Afterwards, it was a relief to work in the open again, on batteries. So, liberate yourself from the safety of the electricity grid, and discover the new creative freedom without. Artists: leave your attics, cellars, dark galleries and concert spaces. Come out in the open and unplug massively! 3.What is time and how can be quantified? What is the forecast for the upcoming years? 3.1. a past Probably you are asking because of a longer-term project we did with almost 40 artists, between 2009 and 2012, before ALOTOF, also initiated by the artist collective OKNO: Time Inventors’ Kabinet or simply TIK. The initial idea
was to come up with an ecological notion that would completely disrupt our creativity and way of living. After some brainstorms and discussions, we started to make so-called windclocks. What if time is advancing in a non-linear way with a variable set of units, based on the local measurement of the wind? There are as many notions of time as there are people and machines active at once. An interesting reference about these historical and diachronical ways of dealing with time is certainly “Einstein’s Clocks and Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time” by Peter Galison (2004). Maybe the artistic outcomes of the TIK project were less important than the fact it changed the way the people involved would go on creatively. Maybe that is more important than to make a sublime composition or text or ... 3.2. prehistory Time is so different when you are 5 years old, 20, 40, 60 ... 100! Our memories go much further back than our ages. I remember some stories my great grandmother was telling about her mother, so oral memory can go back certainly 150 years. A fascinating work in that respect is certainly the much-criticized “Congo: The Epic History of a People” by David Van Reybrouck (2010). It sketches the history of Congo based on interviews with old people and the stories they remember since the
slave trade, centuries ago. The promise of our media is that they extend our memory and knowledge on so many different, sometimes contradictory, timelines. But they also include amnesia, senility, and many other decays. 3.3. present We were talking about Pietro Grossi; he was born the year the Theremin was invented (1917). What Lev Theremin did was groundbreaking: he turned electricity into an instrument, with a different sound based on the human voice, with a different way of playing (no touch). We could set up something together to commemorate the centennial of Arsenij Avraamovâ€™s Baku performance (1922). Avraamov put up something different as well; it would be labeled now as audience participation, mass performance, industrial music. He went on to work with filmstrips and light sensors for the electronic generation of sound, and at the same time, he elaborated in microtonality. We all become very old if we look into that. We can take it along but at the same time, we can experiment with new objects, forms, media. Things that refine our behaviour, qualitatively enhance our expressivity. Over the years, I was looking forward to Baku 2022 as a kind of round-up, a 100-year evaluation in time. What are experiments? But maybe the understanding of the related notion of continuous
change might be more important. 3.4. future 0 This year is the year Bladerunner (Riddley Scott, 1982) was imagined to take place, though Philip K. Dick in the original novel “Do androids dream of electric sheep” provides different time indications. It does not matter, of course, it is just imagination. Future scenarios are interesting in a way that they reflect the changes we feel that are happening now, nothing else. I also read a lot into so-called ‘future linguistics’ these days. These are discussions on the principles of language change, what principles could be of value, and the high amount of uncertainty that is part of predictions on all levels of analysis. Linguists predict the future of how we speak, based on evolutionary principles from the past. But they know: one important social or media event and we talk unpredictably different! Also, new genetics are becoming quite interesting, since they are working with different types of genes that are acting on different levels of the body (organism-environment, others regulating processes, still others shaping attitudes and habits). I am not an expert in all this, but certain ideas and principles come through in the music we try to make. Last year we began to make some pieces for 2059-64. ‘Succour’ started as a
theme for the Dystopie festival in Berlin. We set it up as a basis to think about future music and media, based on recurrent situations and ideas from the past and present. How to imagine music in 40 years’ time, its technology, instruments, and propagation. We are sonifying 13 poems and 12 epitaphs, written in an evolving Future Unified Language. We work on a multichannel, wireless, and large radius sound installation, mobile and weatherproof. We try to come up with dynamical scores for automatically classifying, segmenting and matching 1000s of pictures of skies and garages, and 20 hours of field recordings of different weather situations. But mostly try to have fun with all instruments that surround us. So goodbye: now I continue and build the OMSynth kit. 3.5. future 1 On the 24th October 2017 Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said during a panel discussion at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: “As I’ve said before, if we don’t do anything about climate change now, in 50 years’ time we will be toasted, roasted and grilled (...) Decisions are needed at this point in time… ” She called the two key issues both climate change and inequality that could drive us “to either utopia or
dystopia”. “If we don’t address those two issues – of climate change and growing inequalities – we will be moving towards a dark 50 years from now,” she said.
PIETRO GROSSI Stefano Manconi A few thoughts on an early electronic-art pioneer... Have you ever heard about Pietro Grossi? Me neither, indeed I’m almost positive he was a top-class cello player, composer, and later some sort of “experimentalist”. What does it mean “some sort of”? Well, it might be hard to believe that someone, after spending half of his life on such an instrument, would suddenly sell it because “computer frees us from others genius and enhances ours”. There are no doubts that conservatives and music institutions couldn’t stand for that, and even today, I don’t think it changed much. But where does such a statement come from? In the ‘60s, Pietro Grossi began experimenting with tools like oscillators, filter banks, and tape recorders – he bought his very own after a 15 days residency at the Italian broadcast studios of RAI in Milan, where he actually saw those devices for the first time. What was so appealing about those machines? One of the answers comes from the machine itself: the possibilities of sound manipulation imply “no end”, starting from a single sound, the developing structure is constantly a work-in-progress and the relationship “composer-executor” is completely in-
verted indeed, are we playing with a machine or is the machine playing with us? In 1963 he founded the Musical Phonology Studio of Florence “S 2F M” which was located in his own house and run by a collective of people who were exhibiting their projects under the same name. One of the purposes of the collective “s2fm” was certainly to pioneer an artistic practice, focused on sound research, and based on the approach of the “work-in-progress” where every material could be the starting point for the following one and so on. They were also used to trade tapes by mail to make and get “remixes” while being very strict about the “copyleft” attribution. A few years later, in 1965, he donated his studio equipment to the Music Conservatory of Florence, after obtaining the approval to establish the first electronic music class in Italy. Even as many students frequented the class, this new practice of making and thinking about sound wasn’t certainly looked at positively from the traditional departments. In the same period, he did the first experiments with computer music and began collaborating with the I.T. Institute CNUCE at the University of Pisa. From this collaboration were made several computer programs for interactive and automated music composition and elaboration, later developed
into more complex systems for sound synthesis as well. In the late 80s, PiGro (an alias of Pietro Grossi, which in the Italian language means “lazy”) extended his “automated-music” concepts to visuals as well, developing software which could run on personal computers and capable of generating every time a different and unique sound and graphics. This software brought a new practice of making/enjoying art, which he identified with the name of “HomeArt - Art by ourselves and for ourselves” – fair enough! In an interview he actually says: “Once a musical or visual structure is created, and since it has been done and listened to, it has no more life. Because today it is possible to make a new one; and also quite easily. Indeed, I ask myself, what is the goal of exhibiting, maybe it is just for saying: look, what you can do!” That concept might be almost 40 years old, but sometimes I ask myself – whether a bunch of synth headz like us isn’t actually practicing “HomeArt” by locking ourselves in a room with a lot of gear and eventually showcasing the footage on social platforms like instagram or facebook. LINKS: pietrogrossi.org visualmusic.it quantum-bit.it
KOMPAS Stefano Manconi this tool is the outcome of the environment we are in and is inspired by a non-linear approach to music and life – don’t build any expectations, choose your direction and discover new paths Kompas is an eurorack module which has been (dis)continuously developed during the past three years around the Bastl environment. The final product – even if a final version never exists, it’s always the more-like latest version – itself has a journey which started late in 2016 or doubtless before. Pre-phase We – people from the XXI century – are used to perceive time and structure our lives in a linear-way, even if we constantly encounter proofs that our world is not linear at all. Randomness is such only when we can’t follow the line of events, but – at a certain level – we cannot predict any cause-effect relationships. The universe is much more complex, but if we want to track the story behind Kompas, we must rely on a chronological (de)construction of events.
Phase 0 In 2015, I applied for an Erasmus study in the Czech Republic. As many people often ask me, why did I choose Brno? Well – I honestly don’t know. I’ve been there a few years before to play a gig with friends and it looked like a nice town to live in… Coming from a tiny reality – like Sardinia is – I didn’t know what to expect from this “not-really-hyped” place. Since I moved to Brno, I was looking for collectives and spaces which operate at the sub-cultural level. I soon found out about the venue Praha v Brně, which was hosting the best electronic and experimental acts of the moment. The first memorable event I’ve been to was the “Christmas Soldering” party at the old Bastl headquarters. Funny thing was that I had learned about Standuino and also something about Microgranny over the web, but I wasn’t aware that all of that was actually happening in Brno. During this event, I soldered my first DIY kit - the Elektrosluch Mini from Jonas Gruska and bought my first cassette which was Dataloss from the local artist HRTL (a few months later he won the Anděl award for Czech electronic music album of the year). Being there was such a nice experience and – for the first time – I felt like being in the right place at the right moment. Many things happened in between, and
I slowly found myself being friends with the most inspiring people around. When summer came, I ended up being involved in the development of the mighty 60Knobs - arguably the first community-developed product of Bastl. My first Erasmus was over but the second one was about to start, this time at Bastl headquarters. During that year, we continued developing 60Knobs, we started to run the label Nona Records and we had the “bastl-jam” events on a weekly base... also the coffee was about to take over the scene, and multiple times over the year, I felt again in the right place at the right moment. It was 2017 and Kompas didn’t have a name yet, but it started to take its shape on an hardcored DIY perfboard which was screwed in my rack (still working) and far from being intended as a product. 2018 came, and I was back in my country to finally get my bachelor degree done with the project “Kompas - development of a eurorack modular synthesizer based on Arduino”. Kompas was actually the tool I had to build in order to learn something – in a very Bastl attitude. Phase 1 On the 1st of January 2K19 I flew back to Brno with releasing this tool as my main goal. During the year, many things and changes happened in my life, I met many inspiring and interesting people again, and I realized that this was the
moment to â€œgenerate a new routeâ€?. All the time I put into Kompas was somehow reflecting on myself, in my fears and my daily-life choices. Being in a creative environment like Bastl taught me that the devices we build, as designers, are not much different from ourselves, indeed, they show just a few of the complex multiplicity of features that characterize our personality, as human beings. Those machines are a mere manifestation of who we are, and at the end, they are just tiles of the big puzzle which pictures our environment, the perception of ourselves through the people around us. Kompas can be many things and nothing at the same time; can be a module for unpredictable sequencing or a developing tool for exploring Arduino possibilities in the modular environmentâ€Ś can be the metaphor of daily life or a reminder for making our choices.
KOMPAS Manual Kompas is a three-coordinate probabilistic pattern generator. Each coordinate has a unique travelling pace and a dedicated trigger output. The amount of probability can be adjusted manually or by external voltages. Once a coordinate has been adjusted, a new pattern is generated and looped until the next change of direction. Unlike common probability operation, instead of filtering a pre-determined sequence, kompas uses probability to generate a new one. FEATURES global clock and reset input 3 x 32 step pattern generators with different travelling algorithms 3 CV inputs for coordinate modulation 3 trigger outputs 2/5/10ms selectable trigger length (via boot settings) DIY and hacker friendly Arduino programmable hardware open-source schematics and code available also as DIY soldering and coding workshop TECHNICAL DETAILS 5 HP PTC fuse and diode protected 10-pin power connector 35mm deep (skiff friendly) 5ms default trigger length 5V trigger outputs
0+5V protected CV inputs 60Hz maximum clock rate (3600 BPM :O) 6-pin FTDi connector; power consumption +12V: < 30mA; -12V: 0mA; +5V 0mA
Longitude is the safest route. Latitude is the most unpredictable route. Altitude is always related to the other two coordinates. Controls 1 Clock input Clock input is global for all coordinates, it moves the pointer to the next step and updates the current coordinate position. 2 Reset input Reset input is global for all coordinates and moves (brings) the navigation back to the first step. 3 Coordinate knobs Longitude, Altitude, Latitude set the amount of probability and generate a new pattern. On full clockwise position all the steps are active, full counter-clockwise none of the steps is active. Note: each coordinate has a different travelling algorithm, every time the coordinate changes, the alert LED on the left side will light up. 4 CV inputs
A dedicated CV input can be used to modulate the degree of the coordinate, whose knob position will act as an offset. CV inputs operate from 0 to +5 positive voltages and the internal protection circuit prevents damage from bigger and negative signals. 5 Trigger outputs Each coordinate has a separate output which delivers a trigger signal when the current step is active. Every time a trigger signal occurs, the led on the right side of each coordinate will light on.
Installation A LED jumpers (default operation) Three jumpers must be installed in the expander header following the orientation printed on the board. These jumpers will enable the left-most coordinate LEDs. The remaining pins (+5v, GND, PD7, PB0) are meant for factory configuration or hacking purpose and by default should be left unconnected. ! Power header Before connecting the module to the power, make sure your system is switched off and double check the polarity of the ribbon cable. The red stripe (-12V) must match the sign on both module header and system bus
board. In case of mistake thereâ€™s a polarity protection which will prevent damage of the module. B Boot Settings Because certain modules might work better with shorter or longer trigger signals, there is a boot menu which lets you choose three different length settings: 2, 5 or 10 ms (the factory preset is 5ms). In order to access the boot menu settings you must follow this order of steps: I - switch off (turn off) your system; II - connect the power ribbon to the module; III - install the extra jumper (included in the kit) in between pins PB0 and GND on the expander header; IV - power on your system and tweak one of the knobs: * Longitude = 2ms * Altitude = 5ms * Latitude = 10ms the rightmost LED will light on according to the trigger length you choose; V - switch off your system; VI - disconnect the jumper; Hacking zone Behind Kompas there is an Arduino-compatible hardware (ATMEGA328P chip) which can be re-programmed and hacked
for different eurorack application. C FTDi header Connector for re-programming the ATMEGA328P chip. D Expander header Allows the access to ATMEGA328P pins which are not used by default operation. E MIDI soldering pad Connection point to the RX pin of the ATMEGA328P - suitable for potential MIDI implementation.
The Mere Navigation of Plans G Lucas Crane The BIG ACT that differentiates humans from the rest of our earth entities…is that we have PLANS. But the time travel I perform needs something to hold on to, some reference that gives me the ability to even tell you about it, to even speak on the subject. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have plans, that is, that I still have the human reflex for planning, even though the act of time travel makes the futility of most plans hilariously obvious. Would you make plans differently if you knew, knew viscerally, terribly, what the out-come would be? I suspect, at times, you wouldn’t. Perfectly knowing the outcome of your plans is slightly inhuman. I find myself doing things I know will fail, just to feel, to remember linearity. To recapture the thrill of not knowing. Ideally, I need something, some technique with which to Navigate these plans, (that’s ‘Navigate’ with a capital ‘N’), or else I could suddenly be convinced that I’m not myself, that I don’t even know my various plans, that what I do and have done has not sufficiently met the standard that I keep secret (for we each have a different standard) for my will being considered “free”. The sense is lurking and palpable; the plans we make are forever made by someone else. The
field of experience is merely littered with plans that have either failed or succeeded, but never both, the fear reports. We look into our past, and we see our plans, and we watch these plans from their inception point zoom to us in our present and then forward to their eventual completion in our future. Ask a non-human about their plans, and you might find that their plans seem, at least, more fluid. Do it. Pick up your dog and stare into their eyes, deep and long, and you will not see any thoughts about a few years from now. That is how you can tell. Humans, on the other hand, relish and delight in our matted nests of interlinked, interdependent plans, stretching out and binding time. I need to buy mushrooms now for the dinner I’ll make in 3 days, I need to fix the car for the trip I will take in a month, and I won’t be able to schedule the work any other time. I need to have a child by next year because if I don’t I will be too old to do it. The filter needs another oscillation applied to the attack. So I have to buy one, but to save money, I’ll build it from scratch; and the soldering head is worn out. So I’ll have to go out now, in the rain. Our plans move ever forward, in our rhythms of memory up-taken and released. In all these plans, the dynamic is between merely “having plans”
(in the past) and “executing plans” (in the future). What a curious prison! And I suppose that the present is when we simply monitor “how we are doing”. My preferred method to achieve this monitoring is by the ears. The Time Machine, if you indeed use a physical machine, must have something that creates independent sounds that can be arraigned in a time-like sequence. These soundings create an aural map of the expanding moment NOW that you can use to figure out which when you are in, and so perhaps avoid total fucking insanity (TFI), the only real negative consequence of time travel. TFI is actually not so negative against the grand backdrop of all of the human time, but if you’re interested in pretending linearity, to maybe execute some local plans for a bit, join a band or make dinner for 12, build a bridge that won’t fall down, or figure out what just fucking happened, then you’re going to need something to measure relative time that isn’t a watch. TFI is actually useful and should be recognized as giving yourself over to the precariousness of time. Free Will is not, or should not be obscenely seen as “I do what ever I want”; it is, I submit to you, an investigation of a PATH you yourself set yourself upon. If you listen and think, you will access nonlinear space. We attempt Navigation of a PATH by first attempting to sense
where your body is OR when your mind is as both flit across time, violating all manner of causality with the audacity to think you have ‘free will’. You’ve made the decisions you attribute to past plans already. You can see the future as a cloud of somewhat measurable probabilities, each with their own virtues, if you let yourself. To do this without having to die in a black pit of logic, you’re going to need a reference point, and the visual senses are too easily tricked. You’ll need a sounding. A simple flute will do, but here in our year of 2019, there are many fine synthesizers that can do the work for you and with you, and at half the emotional cost. Regardless, what I’m positing here is: you might need some help navigating the haggard, linear fracturing, the oozing uncomfortable truths of time’s restlessness. TFI is NOT the real issue here; sanity is just a local phenomenon, a little tale. You might simply need some help understanding that once you turn the time machine on, you can no longer pretend that all the information and structure about ‘causality’ and ‘free will’ come only from reason and logic and science and physics. The future does NOT depend on the physics and motions of particles and bodies from the past. Not on measurable physics. Not from merely the execution of PLANS. There are things you can’t know, but yet are real, and you
must follow. It might just be a PATH to follow rather than a PLAN to execute. A path that you have indeed constructed, yet are not the exact arbiter of. It’s blatantly against the big lie of, say, the search engine, of going right to what you apparently want but always through a phantom algorithm, the binding social consensus of the synchronizations of the clocks that are so easily violated by arbitrary daylight savings-times. Reality is constructed both of measurable and non-measurable quantities, and of course, time travel, being somewhat rejected from the realm of scientific possibility, must therefor occupy the parts that are not the purvey of a physicalism; of the quantifiable. I know, because I’m from the future. Whoever says to you “if something cannot be measured and quantified, then it isn’t real”, is spouting another kind of religion, one of the old linear ones. So please, make sure to install a good synth in your time machine, or hold a small one in your hands as you walk through the portal (sometimes, it’s a portal), and lead with your ears. The immersive and immediate qualities that sound possesses over the other senses will allow you a better chance to untangle the shifting, competing overlapping time visions as you muck about in nonlinear space-time.
Can I sleep at your house in 10 years? We wonâ€™t speak of it again, but when you see me at your door, I know you will wordlessly step aside and offer me a place. Melody may not be the true arbiter of duration, but what kinds will help us best in our navigation? In western music, relatively few notes are used, but these notes are played in relation to each other in harmonies, or played simultaneously in chords. In Eastern music, many more notes are often used, but combining them is more rare. The difference can be felt mostly in the design of the instruments. When are we? What do we need to lock us into a time and place? Do we need a succession of rapidly and subtly varied notes to evoke continuity? Or do we need polyphonic layering that grinds us somewhen between those layers? I suspect there is another time traveler around when I hear the unmistakable, whistled lilt of the ghostbusters theme song drifting through a Roman forest in 284 AD. Music is actually discontinuous and is experienced dis-linearly between the imprints of moment-to-moment memory and the vibrations of the eardrums and nerves firing. It is perceived as continuous by the employment of an always incomplete and deferred temporal synthesis. And this synthesis is massively influenced by the assumptions put
upon our hearing when a PLAN obscures and deforms awareness of a PATH. Like both ‘non-time travel’ linear time biased visions, and a melodic adherence to things like western and eastern cannons, even a process like MP3 encoding functions by the algorithm picking out what is assumed to be most relevant to our ears. It’s a guess, a technological assumption. It’s a plan made for us that we execute by listening. Who gets to decide what is most relevant to us? Those in the past, or those in the present? Even if those two entities are the same person, I suggest we give ourselves over to the sensuous probability management of the present and look for the PATH, because the PLAN will always only be partially executed, once we catch up with its end in our future. In these local years, around now, there are many more effective compasses to aid our fragile navigation. We should use them.
Everything not saved will be lost. -Nintendo â€œQuit Screenâ€? message
BASTL INSTRUMENTS 2019
reading on music, life, algorithms and time travel philosophy