March 21, 2020

Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6.11).

That’s to say, bread enough for today. (For I’ll pray again for the same tomorrow.) That’s to say, not someone else’s bread. (Hording at another’s expense is manifest selfishness, born of insufficient love for our neighbour and trust in God.)

WFH: DAY 4. 8.20 am: A communion. 9.00 am: Yesterday evening I created a image animation in PowerPoint based upon a photograph depicting one of Philadelphia’s creeks. Each of six successive images derived from the source was 300% larger than the previous one. Gradually, their visual integrity fractured, in-keeping with the concept governing the sound. The sequence and the composition will (would’ve) play(ed) together in a conference setting.

As a matter course, I explored the process of converting the graphic representation of the splash into a sound file. The results were too musical to be useful. I required sounds with an indefinite pitch, rather.

11.00 am: A sample of the recording made of the ripples that followed in the wake of the splash was reversed. Thereafter, I manually moved the cursor of the Digital Work Station software over the splash recording to produce an erratic gritty-click. The results were persuasive, particularly when treated with a little delay:

The principal weakness with the composition was the climax, which occurs mid way; it dissipated too quickly and was insufficiently menacing. The reversed ripple and manual cursor manipulation samples inserted, that problem was fixed. A certain relentlessness was now evident. ‘But what, if anything, can be removed, John?’

Following lunch, I caught up on letter writing to students who are on temporary withdrawal. (In the background: China Crisis’ African and White (1982).)

It’s feels like we’re living in a sci-fi film. Life is measured out, one day at a time. Which is no bad thing, in one sense. Each moment becomes more intense. Now it’s possible to find value in the small sensations that we barely noticed in the ‘age of busyness’. I doubt that things will ever return to what they were. Or, at least, that’s my hope. There’re lessons to be learned even in the midst of this crisis. We’ll each of us be less eager to hurry-on to the next thing; more content with the present and what we have, perhaps. Art is so important right now. It’s imperative that we keep on making, writing, and playing — even if it’s only for ourselves in solitary confinement. These statements may one day find their audience. (After all, it’s not just historians who’ll interpret these perilous times.)

2.30 pm: The pieces of the jigsaw began to fall into place, once the logic of the composition yielded itself. For the first time, I was able to grasp the shape of the whole. Nothing needed either to be added or taken away. All that remained was for me to tweak each component sample within the stereo field. Which was as good a juncture as any to close the files until Monday, when I would return not to define the problem but, rather, to refine the solution.

3.00 pm: Back to the PowerPoint and paper, and on with a review of equipment resources and ruminations on improvisation, for the remainder of the afternoon.

4.30 pm: Rest.

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