Unthinking Things

Unthinking Things (2017-present)

‘Unthinking Things’ is a cross-domain, algorithmic, generative and dynamic composition/performance based around concepts investigated by Bishop George Berkeley in ‘A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge’, written in 1710.

The treatise investigates the nature of things, dividing them into spirits which have agency in the world and everything else, the latter being ‘unthinking things’ which can only therefore ever be the object of our perception. Of particular interest is the way in which such anti-intuitive views have not only survived but flourished during the past century. In particular its implications for the idea of the ‘meta-author’: a creative work having the same relation to the author as the world, its spirits and ideas, have for Berkeley’s conception of God. This seems to me to reflect metaphorically the processes involved in algorithnic composition and some forms of performance using technology.

‘Unthinking Things’ uses algorithmic, automatic processes which structure and articulate aspects of the whole, both en masse and in detail. I also use live and recorded performance data to generate cross-domain expression, for instance producing sonic textures formed by the sounds of basic materials such as stone, wood or metal (‘unthinking things’) from readings and recordings of Berkeley’s texts. In this way and others, the piece interrogates the nexus between the written and the spoken, the notated and the improvised.

The version performed in March 2017 is exploratory, intended to help answer some technical questions which might allow for an expanded and adventurous event in the future.

‘Unthinking Things’ is composed using SuperCollider and INScore software.

1 thought on “Unthinking Things

  1. Those who are masters of any justness and extent of though
    Is suited to the received opinions
    Therefore the other sensible qualities
    Of man or nature
    The particular bodies
    That to attract and be attracted by every other body is an essential quality inherent in all bodies whatsoever

    dah bah mah
    dah lah mah
    dah bah mah
    nah dah pah
    pah lah nah
    dah nah pah
    dah bah mah
    dah bah lah
    mah dah pah

    the – shape – white – lost – blue – old – depth – old – blue – depth – swift – blue – wild – old – depth – red

    Blank words, blunt tight moon? Your square, swift soft time shape crawls. Free frame, cold hard pool.

    Not free, but red,
    He comes to the trill.
    A flat words screams.

    Crawl brook, Your swift
    sky sings. Light words

    esse est percipi

    heya! – yeh! hey!

Comments are closed.