Longplayer Live


Long Now London Meetup member Adam Becker sent in a write-up describing Jem Finer’s Longplayer Live event in the UK:

Jem Finer’s 1000 year composition Longplayer moved from virtual instruments to real ones on Saturday, September 12th at the Roundhouse in London. He amassed a collection of musicians to perform an excerpt from the piece over the course of the day, filling the main performance space of the venue with the pulsing, metallic voices of Tibetan singing bowls for 1000 minutes.

Dressed in blue-gray army surplus style uniforms, the musicians gave the place the look of a Bond villain’s lair, some kind of mysterious, devious activity going on. Even so, the result was child-friendly, plenty of young ‘uns running around, or falling asleep in their parents’ arms, Zenned-out by the chiming bowls.

Downstairs something less abstract was happening – a series of conversations (each 36 minutes long) between a host of scientists, journalists, historians, mathematicians and more.  These had their own ebb and flow, some pairings warming up right before they were gonged out, others getting straight into it, clearly having researched their partner/opponent and wanting to have some fun.

The talks provided a great accompaniment to the music above, the participants clearly aware that this event was somewhat to do with long-term thinking, but not hammering the point.  Upstairs again, and the music played into the night, sonically and visually elegant, and one of the most unusual things to be found in London on a Saturday night.

(Some beautiful photos here: http://longplayer.posterous.com/)


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The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

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