Week #8: Space, Chaos, and Chance by Jeff Poirier

The concept of space is quite daunting to say the least. Our human existence, seemingly the end all of importance, is truly miniscule in the context of all else that is, has, or ever will be. The animation presented in lecture that scaled all of space in dimensions of ten really stirred up the confusion of what life and meaning are. The illustration of the tenth-dimension also invoked a sense of inherent human ignorance. The frustrating and near inconceivable nature of the dimensions above our own make one call into question his or her own understanding of reality. What are we as humans? Are we honestly nothing more than the vibrations of a googolplex of quarks at one-ten thousandth of an Angstrom? Or are we the flesh, blood, and bones that we experience every day? Or are we an infinitesimal speck in a vast expanse of existence?  Or is it possible that we are all of these simultaneously, carrying out our self-concerned lives unaware of the minute nature of our reality?

The philosophical and, at times, incomprehensible questions that arise around the idea of space are highly intriguing. Historically, the extreme labors of humanity to conquer the understanding of space are evidence of our fear of other possibilities. From Sputnik, to man on the moon, to the Mars Rover, humans have been trying to surmount the incomprehensibility that is space. Perhaps, despite all this concerted effort, we as humans are not meant to understand all that is. Perhaps we are only meant to exhaust ourselves on what is the immediate reality we know.

In lecture, the concept of chance and chaos fell into discussion as the only constant in all that is existence. The works of Gil Kuno of Unsound strive to parallel this understanding by employing chaos and chance into the equation that normally computes our everyday realities of order. I found this endeavor to be quite inspiring as it comes from an angle not always considered. For example, Six String Sonics, The takes the comfortable and understood concept of the guitar and distorts it into an unchartered territory of musical exploration. By placing the fate of the composition into the hands of six musicians rather than one, as well as making all the strings of the guitar available for play at all times, the chaos and chance of personal choice and interpretation move the melodies and chords beyond the restrictions that the conventional understanding of guitar hold to. Another piece that employs this idea of chaos and chance is the auditory Slinky composition in which the sounds of Slinkies are recorded as they fall down a ladder in sequences. In this instance, the physics and chance of how and where the Slinkies fell, partially compounded with the free will decisions of the performers dropping the “instruments,” organized itself into a cacophony. However, to the surprise of the listener, this seemingly uncontrollable medium develops a composition that has order and discernable organization.

I believe that the work presented by Gil Kuno and the discussion of space coincide with one another quite well. The chance and chaos of molecules, cells, and dimensions that organize into our very existence and the chance and chaos of the Unsound exhibitions parallel each other in nature. Space is inherently difficult to understand. At the same time, humans inherently try to find meaning and clarity in all that is chaos. Thus, space and the truths that it holds may exist beyond the bounds of human comprehension.

Below is a link to another video that puts the human existence on a scale, measuring our significance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfpb9GqYLiI&feature=related

-Jeff Poirier 

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