Friday, 31 July 2009

while friends were talking

I did this while Astrid and Dai were talking about enlightenment (or something or other) after we'd all had a great meal. Life is good. It's quite a 'lazy' improvisation.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Score on the train

Here's another attempt to sketch music by hand onto the computer. I wanted to sketch the whole thing. So from the opening melody being coercive in terms of asserting a tonality, it eventually becomes a disruption at the end. Not sure if it completely works yet, but an interesting idea.

looking after dad

Commentaries and Conversations – just another love poem: Astrid Johnson

1) Intro

Tradition, Technology and the Library.

Thinking about tradition seems anachronistic in an age of technology.

You are lost already, my friend. Deeply lost in my arms.

Technology can strip away all that isn't needed in the Library –
I will argue this is a mistake. Why?

Sinking to the ground, no question left.

Drawing on Luhmann's distinction between
Perception & Communication.

In timeless suspension, gently gliding on the Ocean floor,
with so many of yours and your father's friends:
Niklas, Christopher, Bohuslav, William and Graham Greene.

I want to consider the university from a biological perspective.
Philosophy is poetry of ideas. I am writing on a computer.
We are lucky, no need to find out who the greater Kali here?

One father dead and the other barely living.
You, the son of one; me, the daughter of the other.

2) Father's Library

At the moment I'm sitting in dad's flat.
I am there with you, my love.

He's asleep. I am feeling the relentless march of time.
At times as crucial as then, but much less distinct, "the human heart
can go to the length of God". I love you for your heart
and the long distance runner it is.

Browsing books that I remember from childhood.
This is not difficult. I am listening to Martinu.

My perception in this Library is enlarged.
I'm regulated by respect, care, consideration, personal history, insight.
There is nothing else to do other than reflect and think. To perceive.
But I am now writing about it. After many hours, sat doing nothing.
My love, I envy you. Were you born with the ability to get lost, not loose any sense of morality
and the will to make distinctions?

Now I am communicating, my perception,
but others do it better than me.
Kali. Kali. Kali.

And they're all around me.
William Trevor, Graham Greene.
Gliding with friends on the Ocean floor. Dancing Kali's dance.
Let Evelyn Waugh join this dance. And there, you see, Rumi
running towards us...

Just walking by all the books.
So deep how I feel. Time.
Time. Time. I haven't sat like this with my dad's books
since I was 16.
Blessed we are, my love. Blessed with time.

Quote :"The human heart can go to the length of God" from Christopher Fry's "A Sleep of Prisoners"

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Chat with Oleg in Bangor

I did this video as a way of doing a brain-dump of stuff I'm thinking at the moment. It's all a bit half-baked, but it was an interesting exercise to put it together, and it served a useful starting point for some deep discussions. Good day began trying to persuade Izzy to take her 'scene' (all lit-up with LED lights from Maplin) into school to show the teacher. She didn't want at first, but it looks like insisting she did it was the right thing to do in the end. The music is a Barcoralle which plays with different 'coercive' regulators (regular accompanimental patterns which change as the piece progresses)

Monday, 20 July 2009

University as an ultrastable system

Been re-reading Beer's paper about esoteric boxes. I think this is the best chapter in 'Platform for change'. He talks about the real difficulties for institutional change - and the possibility that those who seek change are actually part of the mechanism of viability of the 'ultrastable' whole.

The improvisation is totally unrelated to any of this. It's meant to be wild and humorous - partly because it's something that's difficult to improvise (you can hear the problems I had!). Its main feature is the strict regulation of the rhythm. Of course this rhythm gives the music its own 'ultrastability' (which I try to break).

Saturday, 18 July 2009


Just taking a video snapshot of my browsing obsessions today is a bit like keeping copies of daily newspapers and personal correspondence. It is a 'day in the life'. To have some music with it too adds something - particularly if it's an improvisation. It was a good day too - apart from a frustrated attempt at doing interesting things with Spore models. Went to Manchester with Izzy and Astrid, bought lots of craft stuff, coffee in pop cafe. This might all seem ephemeral now and unimportant. How will it feel in 30 years? - I'll be 70! I used to keep a scrapbook when I was nine, which I still have. Same thing - cuttings from newspapers, train tickets, concert programmes, etc. I'm glad I did it.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Random Thoughts

I'm writing a paper on the University at the moment. Thinking of tying together themes from Newman, Gordon Graham, Humbolt and Cicero. The bottom line is that I think that university life relates in some way to the idea of a 'good life'. The central issue is that 'ideas' of the university inevitably relate to this in one way or another, and are in a sense irrelevant (and possibly unhelpful). The challenge is a practical one: how to remain viable in a changing context. The video is a bit of browsing of my YouTube site(!) and then the paper under construction (not sure how these fit together!). The music is an attempt to do the sort of very relaxed slow-movement that Haydn (for example) is so good at.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Folk song

Thinking about the professional university and the 'good life', particularly as Cicero refers to it.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Cardinal Newman on the University

Newman's view of the University is very interesting. He clearly saw it as an instrument of knowledge conservation, rather than creation. I have some sympathy with this view. Been reading Gordon Graham's book "The institution of intellectual values" and "The internet: a philosophical inquiry". All good stuff!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Family moments

It's been quite a weekend with family issues. All turned out very well - cause for celebration! Made lots of connections: Cardinal Newman on the University; Glover on MS , MRI and Alzheimers; Maturana on Love; Goethe and sensual experience. I think sensuality and conscience are at the heart of things. This improvisation is me trying to be more free and bold musically. Boldness in improvisation doesn't come easily.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Hymn to a great day out

This is meditative and maybe a bit low-key. It doesn't reflect the day we've had visiting Liverpool - really good, rich and exhausting. Happy evening 'vegging out'. Skype conversation with dom this evening good - once he got his camera working.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

horsing around

Staff conference went off very well today.. making the tin foil horses was hilarious! E-strategy stand also good - thanks to last-minute help from colleagues. Visibletweets was fantastic - very disruptive. I've used it for the video part of this improv (which was done last night in the balmy late-night heat).

So far so good. Now to worry about robots, diabetes, Processing and java. Enough of politics - time for some software development.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Staff conference sped up!

This is the presentation video I've prepared for tomorrow.. running at about 10 times it's speed with a 'humorous' improvisation. Very busy few days... Moodle has been officially adopted, and we seem to have minimised the number of people who might have been upset by that. Not upsetting people is very important!