Inspired by John Cage's Songbooks, we were given the following score:
- 10 seconds of stillness
- A moment of unison
- A voice singing
Thinking of scores and our discussion of Future Library, a piece of music came to mind. It was a collection by sound artist Bartholomäus Traubeck, where he used technical wizardry to translate genetic and environmental information in tree rings into a haunting neo-classical score. The tree rings acted in a similar way to grooves on a record, and the information was transformed into piano music.
Give it a listen whilst you read the text below to experience our score
Expansive. Longing. Abstract. Melancholy.
Melting. Glaciers. Medium. Form. Collapse. Eternity. Telephoned. Black. Black. Holes. Dead. Stars. Anointed.
Sharing time, returning. Alone. Together.
Beyond. Walls. Behind. Speech. Between. Words.
Durational. Longing. Latent. Yearning.
Concept. Concrete. Cold. Callous. Chasm.
Years, the worth of a secret. Later.
Gestures. Small. Gesture. Emerges. Faith. Prayer. Paean. Sacred. Ritual. Burial
Legacy’s. Lonely. Shadow. Dances.
Deep time of trees – will outlive us.
Those. Left. Watch. On.
The text above came from a list Chris wrote in response to our conversation about Future Library, and we each added words to it from our own lists to complete it.
We decided to play the tree record through headphones, as we hummed the tune to it in unison. We each switched between humming and reading lines of the text in an intuitive way, allowing moments of overlapping voices and silences inbetween lines. We also displayed plants and turned book pages to the camera - visual representations of the forest and manuscripts of Future Library.
But alas, Zoom is not built for chorus harmonies. We reflected that its functinality as a conference tool made it impossible to layer sounds or voices from multiple participants. The effect produced was interesting, disjointed as it switched between voices depending on who was louder in the moment. Although the tune wasn't recognizable, it was clear that it was part of the same melody. Working with this medium, it's important to understand its limitations, and ways of using the effects it produces as a result.