Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Longplayer, based on my contemporaneous tweets

FriendFeed is very useful for finding your old tweets and is much better at doing this than Twitter itself. Using its search function I've found all my #longplayer related tweets and am going to get on and add all my photos and videos from the (wonderful) day.

I first heard about Longplayer through a friend. She thought I'd like it as I'd previously raved about "9 Beet Stretch" which is Beethoven's 9th stretched to play over 24 hours - I heard that on a podcast about Time by Radiolab. The 9 Beet Stretch piece is streamed continuously (repeating) on the web and you can dip in at any time and listen to it.

Longplayer is on a larger scale. It began as "a computer generated musical creation" in 1999 and has played continuously, via the internet, and will continue to do so for 1,000 years (assuming all goes well with the computer industry) - the composer, Jem Finer, decided to excerpt a piece for 1,000 minutes to be played live - ie reroute it from the computer listening outposts to a concert space. For almost all of one Saturday the piece was played on a series of tuned singing bowls at the Roundhouse in Camden - it was described as a bronze age synthesiser.

Alongside this there were a series of conversations, on the subject of long time, with people including Ruth Padel (Darwin's great great granddaughter) and Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing fame (who first came to my attention via xkcd's cartoon). I managed to catch the last bit of their conversation before spending most of the rest of the day positioned by pillar 23 of 24. I also got to meet @Documentally who was there tweeting and making sure that the folks back home could hear the singing of the bowls (see his Longplayer posterous and blog).

Here are some of my tweets -

>>I liked that chats were timed w Tibetan bowl... bong bong... RT @Documentally AudioBoo Cory Doctorow #longplayer

The conversations were bookended by someone sounding a small bowl to indicate that the next person should take to the stage. I made my own boo of Ruth and Cory but my recording was pretty feeble.

>>Wondering if the bowls that are not in play, but sitting on wooden circuits, are resonating at all and contributing... #longplayer

There were bowls on tables which were being played but plenty more on low wooden forms, arranged in a circuit, which weren't physically being played - I did wonder if there might be some resonance-y thing going on that meant they were playing but couldn't be sure.

>>People enjoying #longplayer might also like Rainer Hersh's show on unusual percussive & musical instruments, avail. from @speechification

Speechification is brilliant - it's a curation of wonderful podcasts (both wonderful weird and wonderful sweet) and "Gershwin's Horns" is an amusing look at composers who've gone beyond violins and flutes to vegetables, turkeys, tuned anvils, taxi horns and even paper.

>>I'm going to try and recreate #longplayer with wine glasses when I get home later. Or milk bottles. On a slightly smaller scale obviously.

I keep meaning to do this. I get milk delivered so it's conceivable...

>> Bowls on tables being 'rung', bowls on tiny raised platforms not. Played later? Decorative? Resonant? #longplayer

Still wondering about this!

>>Today's sounds have been brought to you by bing, bong, bwoo-oo-oo and whu-uu-uum :) #longplayer

I like to think I contributed to the permanent tweet record of this event :-)

>> Circular room, 24 pillars, 6 concentric circles w 234(?) tuned bowls. Bronze aged synths FTW #longplayer

>> Trying to spot pattern in bowl size and spacing at #longplayer - failing. Keen use of stopwatches to time ringings

There were a lot of bowls there, I couldn't fathom how they were arranged though.

>>Wondering what the Ikea instructions for #longplayer are like, and if there's always a wee bowl left over once it's built...

I'd started thinking about getting a programme to find out more about the construction and couldn't help but wonder.

>>Trying out Twitvid after spotting that @Documentally had used it - this is an excerpt from #longplayer

I've used this once since but I'm glad I have it as an option on my iPhone. It was quite the day of multimedia.

>> I love the last line in this bio, #longplayer :)

The bio is of Richard "Dickie" Cripps who is the site manager of Trinity Buoy Wharf, home of Longplayer (this means he hears it most days). It says "he is still waiting for the chorus to kick in..."

>>Another clip from #longplayer - notice the interesting 'feature' of low ambient light, which my phone cannot solve

An iPhone video I took in the evening - once I work out where the flash is I'm sure my twilight videos will be better ;)

Some of the photos are below and I'm adding them and videos to my Flickr page too.

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