Induction #2 – One Night, An Idea Showed Up
by Jason Kenemy
A couple of years back I had a thought that lead me to this project. It occurred at a show by Jason “Tape Loops” Lescalleet and it relates to the question of the origin of consciousness I was wondering about (and wrote about) in the previous blog post.
Jason Lescaleet is an outstanding musician from Berwick, Maine. That night in Toronto he was performing with two analog reel-to-reel tape machines – stretched out on big tables – a few cassette recorders placed around the room, a little keyboard and a P.A. system.
Into his tape-looping system he fed little bits of sound from his keyboard – a couple of notes here and there – which played out through the P.A. He used the cassette recorders set up throughout the room to then re-record sounds and feed them back into the tape-looping system. This went on and the sounds built up and built up…and repeated…and grew and grew and deepened and spread out. A musical-mechanical system created and nourished by Mr. Lescalleet.
Eventually the room was ringing and I was too. The sounds of his music eventually swamped the audience like a sonic Jacuzzi – a powerful but not necessarily violent sensation – a looping sensory overload. It was intense – almost overwhelming – beautiful but a little uncomfortable too.
At a certain point, I sort of got detached from myself.
I looked out the window at all the traffic and the lights. Saw the starting and the stopping of the orchestrated rhythms of the traffic signals and the reactions of the cars. I thought of the motors under the hoods, the car radios and the mobile phones in the hands of the drivers (!). I saw a similar orchestration of the pedestrians walking by. I thought of the power lines and the telephone wires overhead and their controls and the pipes and valves under the ground and all the activity in each of the shops lining the street.
Well, those sights and those sounds induced a thought in my mind…
What if the electro-mechanical world we’ve created and live in could reach the “level of complexity” required to support a consciousness of it’s own? What if it already has? What if a new form of life has emerged?
That thought kind of tickled me and I started riffing on the idea. What would you do if you met such a new being? What would you think? What would they think? What would they look like? Would they recognize their own present servitude to humans? Would they view their creation as something different from servitude? Would they try to reject it? Would humans feel threatened? Would we be caring? With great access to sources of sensory input and the ability to process it – would they become megalomaniacs or would they become transcendent benevolent creatures in awe of the world/and the universe and keen to help out?
How would the nature of their consciousness be different from our own? Would it be “made” of the same stuff? Could any of this have anything to do with the creation of our own consciousness and/or evolution?
So many questions!
I started writing small bits of music that were meditations on some of these questions and were communications (jams!) between the species. Given the vibrational, electrical nature of humans and machines – and our long history together already – it seemed to me we might have lots to talk about.
“Induction” – awakening June 20th, 2017