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STEIM Writings

Netochka Nezvanova

The world is spinning faster.

The macrobody - the human \ interface \ machine - invades music's microbody.

Flows are everywhere. The source and location - nowhere. The displaced garden is rootless, seedless, derived from technologically-altered and increasingly sophisticated information. Content and meaning disperse with such speed that sound rapidly advances in all directions tending towards vacuous silence or saturated noise.

- ------

Music - like biological growth - is non-destructive.
Music - like biological growth - is concerned with life.

`The tree is an aerial garden, a botanical migration from the sea,
from those earlier plants, the seaweeds; it has a purchase on
crumbled rock, on ground. The human, standing, is only a different
upsweep and articulation of cells. How treelike we are, how human
the tree. ` [ Gretel Ehrlich ]

Each garden is a unique environment, generating unique relationships and tracing complex inter-relations. In almost any ecological condition biological growth unfolds an assemblage of unique and important characteristics that are found in no other life form. Biological growth is susceptible to external influences which alter climate stability causing flux and change. No natural environment is self-enclosed.

Music's natural environment consists of both society and individual thought; the act of application and analysis affects this environment. Like 21st century bio-technology, musical ideas mutate and migrate at incredible speeds. Faced with a increasing multitude of possibilities, overwhelmed by choice and complexity, there will no longer be any human master of musical history as the opportunity to be heard becomes available to any body and any object connected with current technological modes of communication. The escalating process of divergence accelerates in unfolding curves _ ..

As a garden - a musical garden - is left to grow unrestricted, inter-disciplinary boundaries become illusory. As no one particular form or structure may claim possession of a singular, unique reality-reference all forms and structures become as valid as any other. Infinite arrays of gardens of infinite species arise, in which no one element is preferred over another, co existing in time and space.

Yet musical ideas must compete.

Plants cannot escape competitors, predators or harsh environmental conditions. In defence they respond via growth modifications and the proliferation of alternative structures. Depending on the conditions, plants derived of exactly the same DNA many appear startlingly different.

Unlike biological inhabitants of a garden, musical ideas do not compete for space or resources, rather for attention. Survival is ultimately dependent upon _selection_. Only that which can adapt - only those configurations which fit for existence within an environment- will survive. The transformation and migration of musical objects are influenced by the myriad of ever evolving \ revolving micro-climates. Modifying behaviour, the method by which an object communicates, is the most effective way of modifying an idea; by modifying the effectiveness of the information-bearing object in how it might communicate to another changes it's mapping of inter-relations. Restricting or increasing the potential flow of information alters that idea's fitness - how it relates and communicates to the environment and it's inhabitants.

------ Nature prefers beauty.

Artificial climates hold host to a musical environment - any artificial garden is as effective as one of nature's forests in sustaining growth. However, controlled environments are dependent upon the bodies that conceived them, limiting possible input thereby limiting potential divergence and growth. Certain artificial environments are purposefully fabricated to allow for the flourishing of certain kinds of ideas, while others are manufacturing ideas which may never naturally occur in a certain native \ wild environment. It is necessary that any artificial environment allow, in some manner and at some point, influence from external sources. Without influence the artificial environment will fold in upon itself, degenerating in an acceleration of unfit, inbred ideas .. . the absence of noise.

The benefit of sustaining artificial environments is towards nurturing and enfolding ideas which would have little or no prospect of survival in a natural or otherwise complex, competitive and highly-evolved environment. The ability for growth and free experimentation of ideas in a cloistered environment is the result of technological advancement, when resources and energy become sourced with less effort. Temporal micro-bonds and micro-climates form, mutations migrate and transform freely within the internal environment, and resulting independent ideas can be released into peripheral environments. The efficiency of artificial environments are reliant upon a tolerance for error, a warmth of reception for any possible inception and realisation of idea within conscious boundaries, and a careful planning of direction - for no artificial environment can nurture and sustain a habitat for all possible ideas.

Equilibrium is a futile state to desire.
If equilibrium occurs, it is momentary. A system oscillates about non-fixed points.

An environment tests its structure, its identity, by allowing external influence to unfold and diversify surfaces. A environment's fear of being destroyed or appropriated arises from resistance to change.

Nothing is free of error.
Nature's resilience and longevity stems from a vulnerability to change.

Tracing fragile communications - nurtured in a receptive whole - causes extraordinary and hitherto unheard-of connections. From vulnerability - beauty arises.

Netochka Nezvanova. Director of Leaves + Petals, STEIM.
Touch Festival, Bern 2001.