The One Thousand Year Long Song
The Longplayer is a thousand year musical composition which began playing on December 31, 1999 and will continue playing until the final second of 2999, when it will begin again anew. Created and composed by Jem Finer with the help of Artangel, the Longplayer is orchestrated for singing bowls and is performed by computers.
"Longplayer grew out of a conceptual concern with problems of representing and understanding the fluidity and expansiveness of time. While it found form as a musical composition, it can also be understood as a living, 1000 year long process – an artificial life form programmed to seek its own survival strategies. More than a piece of music, Longplayer is a social organism, depending on people – and the communication between people – for its continuation, and existing as a community of listeners across centuries."
On September 12th, the Longplayer had its first live performance at the Roundhouse in London. This 1000-minute score was performed by a relay of musicians playing 234 Tibetan singing bowls from 8:20 am to 1:00 am the next morning. Accompanying the performance was a 12 hour series of talks between 24 leading writers, filmmakers, scientists, academics and technology activists, inspired by the philosophical implications of long time.
A 56kbps live stream can be heard by clicking (or right-clicking) here: longplayer.m3u
Image: "Jem Finer and David Toop" by Cormac Heron on flickr, courtesy of Creative Commons.