This piece features samples from a recent lecture by Iain Hamilton Grant, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at UWE, which beautifully interlaces the Platonic analogy of the sun with the ideas of a powers ontology – ‘You cannot separate this power from the entity. Being is power’ – while taking his students on a virtual walking tour of Bristol Cathedral.
The Creator Sun is Plato’s being beyond being (epekeina tou ontos) the ‘The star that brings life to the living, intelligibility to the intelligible, and being to what is’. It is also perhaps less ancient than the darkness that shows it forth; that is implicit in this very ontogenetic power, this difference beyond any finite entity. To quote Iain: I always conceived this lecture as a medieval version of the dialectic of darkness and light Schelling saw played out between light and mass, so that stone, glass and light become respectively media for one another – light, as cosmogonically only lately telluric, manifests itself by its relative absence in stone which, where pierced, allows light in through glass, itself a mineral derivative, whose coloured interactive play elicits the sun’s automimetic, recapitulated biography.’
The darkness shows itself in the light, so that its ‘automimetic power’ is also manifest through architecture, through the mineral. Aesthetics is thus the manifestation of Being as potency.
Although not intended, there may be a further mimetic relationship between the differentiation of being that is the basis for light and the inherent tendencies – as Adorno might say – of the material in the work itself. This reminds me of something Nina Power was stressing in her recent talk for the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group last Wednesday – that music can be thought, but a thought exposed to and in the world. Thought as absolutely empirical and part of the causal nexus rather than as any form of transcendent organizing principle. As if the materials – synth patches, samples, your voice, the text – were co-partners in this dialectic, which is also the formation of a musical entity. And while this is a modest piece, I hope there is a consistency to the way its masses are combined and stratified. Maybe the world of Creator Sun is a universe of pure process, of texts without lumps! The drone that arises at the end was made a while back by time stretching samples made from synthesized bell-like sonorities used in the rest of the piece. The effect is menacing and portentous, I guess, but maybe introduces a different sound layer, a daemon in the heart of the Sun that is, if not telluric, also more occlusive than what it potentiates.