OCEAN ARTic Journal 13/VIII/21

COP26 is getting closer. The recently published IPCC Report from the UN declared the climate situation as a “code red for humanity”. As I struggle with the technicalities of translating data into performable scores, I find myself overwhelmed by the sudden increase in administrative chores and organisational juggling tricks. Trying to secure 8 musicians availability, secure venue bookings when the Covid situation surrounding live performance remains unclear, arrange rehearsal space and, again, availability, and keep figures in my head to ensure that nobody involved - especially me - drops into debt. It takes its toll. The greater struggle, however, is not to allow the stark news reporting to reduce my own endeavours into meaningless little distractions.

That aside, I rest assured that my work is true to the data. I have spoken often about how it has been challenging to get the output to speak to the existential drama of the data, when the figures seem to move so little. I have now come to pick this up as the greatest insight of the project. Our position here is tenuous, precarious, at best. The slightest shift in the variables is enough to throw survival into doubt. 1.5 degree Celsius, a near imperceptible shift in temperature is, it seems, the golden figure which we must keep below. We already seem to be past the point of doing anything to prevent your oceans rising by 2 metres - roughly the height of a man. 

A taller than average man feels the afternoon heat prickle just a little warmer on his skin. And our world enters into a period of chaotic closedown. Not THE world. The rhythms, harmonic relationships and interleaving of systems will continue. It is only our arrogance, and perhaps, still, naiveté, that insists on us talking about the end of the world, the threat to the planet. 

The music now reaching resolution does not reveal any great sweeps of sound to suggest turmoil, or dramatic upset. It is a music of texture, a music of weight moving steadily around interrelated systems. A steady, viscous presence which I have simply found the means to amplify and focus into our hearing range. It speaks, I hope, to something that we must understand that we cannot really impress our will upon. We can relate, are related to it, but… It comes down to we need it more than it needs us.