Monument to the future
Monuments to the future
This site aims to help identify ways for civilization to continue and to make it more likely that sentient beings will remain on this planet while life is possible (why? see here for a motivation). A way to serve this purpose might be to create monuments to the future.
Such monuments could bring to attention the possibility of a long term future that others could experience, make it tangible for us in some way and reflect on the role of our actions in shaping it or in making it more or less likely or even impossible. The 10000 year Clocks/Installations of the long Now would be such monuments but are local, remote, expensive and conceptually almost static. The Letters of Utrecht are intended as a monument to the future, are flexible, engage a large and growing number of people and pay for themselves and even good causes, but are local. Longplayer has global reach but is completely determined for its entire duration and difficult to engage with. Can we think of monuments that engage many, provide growing reason for their continuation and preferably have great reach as well as conceptual flexibility?
A never-ending piece of music / sounds for the future
This project aims to identify a way for civilization to continuously develop and refine its knowledge on this planet indefinitely through generations - as long as life is possible - as long as the sun shines. We want to create a monument to the future by creating a never-ending piece of music, composed and played by every musician in the world. This living monument gives every person the opportunity to shine very bright on a worldly stage, bringing the diversity of music globally together, overcoming cultural en religious differences. Listeners will be surprised and touched by the variety of world music.
The way to reach this is by creating an on- and offline community of millions of musicians where each person or group provide 5-10 minute compositions that can be connected to each other. Online technology will facilitate the process where people create, judge and arrange music. It will be pleasant to hear for every inhabitant of planet earth and will last as long our planet will be inhabited by human life.
Below you can read about the details of this idea.
Why are we doing this? What's the higher goal, our vision?
- Musicians and composers have the opportunity to shine very bright: for everyone it's possible to have a worldly stage, show it's talent and be proud to show friends and family their capabilities.
- Bring inspiration together, having fun in creating music: musicians inspire each other and get connected, based on their passion and shared musical vision.
- For society, music is bringing opposing groups together: listeners will be surprised and touched by the variety of world music, their differences, and similarities. Although we might think different and have different ethical values, we also share the same things.
- To communicate the relevance of continuity, of the effort needed today to make possible tomorrow and all days after it, but also of creativity and the contributions of many
What are the unique components that should make this thing work:
- Make use of the creativity and the time of every musician of the world
- Having a dedicated community of listeners, composers, players, verifiers and promoters to feed the never-ending music
- Use internet/cloud technology to connect musicians over the world
- Make use of workflow technology and the communicative power of infographics to automate the facilitation process
- Make use of search technology (e.g.: soundhound, shazam, chordy) to automatically judge handed music pieces
- Make use of open cloudstorage of music (e.g.: soundcloud, youtube)
- Make use of portal technology to facilitate people in working together without time and location barriers. (E.g. Sharepoint, Trello)
The examples are meant to give an impression of how something could work, but does not mean that these are the technologies we have to use.
What would be the product/service and how does it work
- Composers compose their music piece based on certain standards and within a music theme that functions as a framework. Example of a (classical) theme is Ponce's Variations and Fugue on 'La Folia'. In this example you hear the basic chords first, followed by the variations. Each variation could be composed by another composer/musician so an never-ending piece of music can be created when they are put behind each other.
- Composers/Musicians record the piece and hand it in for verification. Verification is needed to check if it suits the standards so it can be to connected in front and behind other music pieces.
- Verifiers check the music piece on standards. These could for example be: Volume range; theme is recognizable; composition quality; performance quality; recording quality; uniqueness; end en beginning starting in a certain key, tune hight, tempo; etc.).
- The arranger connects different pieces together to make a pleasant to hear whole. Taking into account for examaple: different styles of music (classic, pop, punk, jazz, blues, hardrock, etc); the way it is recorded; the atmosphere the music breaths (sad, happy, melancholic, angry); intensity; etc..
- The publisher publishes the music so it can be heard
Note: later on the music could be enhanced with music videos, but first priority is the music itself.
Online portal that facilitates the process
The online portal has the function to play the music, promote to participate and facilitate the process. The facilitation of the process is 100 % automated. The verification process and arranging process is supported by automation. The way the facilitation could work is like this:
- The portal informs composers and musicians about the theme and standards to which the music has to obey. They can upload it and have an automated check if it meets the demands.
- When composers and musicians want to work together on composing the music, they can use the online workspace area of their project in which they can chat together, work together in a music sheet, upload their part of the music, ask others to give their judgement, etc..
- when the piece is finished, it can be uploaded where the composer has to fill in additional information (metadata) that helps to arrange the piece with other pieces.
- The verifications goes as follows. The first check is by algorithms. After passing this, it will be verified by humans. Every member of the community has also the role of verifier. Three members (for example) will be notified and judge online the piece and metadata by filling in a judgement form. If the judgements vary, automatically other members will be ask to judge. If it is let's say 80 % positive, then the piece passed the test. If not, then the composer is informed in the portal what has to be improved.
- The automated system makes a suggestion in which sequence music pieces should be played. The arranger will focus on the parts that can't be matched and has the liberty to make beautiful arrangements of it's own. The arranger can be any member of the community that has completed the test he or she is a good arranger.
- After a new badge of music pieces is arranged, the system will publish it automatically.
- Additional, members can judge composers, verifiers and arrangers (like with the like system in fora). That will be used to keep the quality high. People that really don't do a good job, are excluded to participate in a certain role and have to prove after a while that they are capable of it.
- Second, every person has it's own profile that shows in which music project are participated, which role (composer, musician, verifier, arranger) and maybe a quality score. Based on that, people get certain points of involvement which give them extra powers/authorities (good composers have access to verifier options, etc.) and maybe some awards can be given (in real life)
Promoting the music
To promote the music the following functions are needed besides being able to playing/listen the music:
- It shows to visitors the past playlist, with extra information about the composer and others, being able to play back the music.
- It shows what kinds of arrangement is coming, which famous composers/musicians/arrangers, from which countries, etc.
- The people that were involved in the music piece will be informed when the music will be played and also have a notification let's say one hour in advance.
- Same counts for listeners that follow a certain composer/musician/arranger.
Creating an involved and growing community
To get people involved and to grow certain online marketing/sales techniques must be used, as well as some event activities. Below a few examples:
- Competitions (between conservatory)
- Rule for participants: handing in music, means also verifying at least x times
- Stimulating creators to invite listeners
- Involve radio stations to play certain parts of the music monument
- Let composers and performers share in income generated from reproducing/distributing their pieces (which would give them incentive not to publishing them elsewhere)
How can this idea keep existing. How do we generate income to:
- develop technology to facilitate the process
- pay for people that run the project/organization
- pay for people that coordinate the non-automated parts of the composition process that are of strategic importance
- Paying for extra functions music, for example: playing past pieces, getting extra information about the piece of music,
- Paying for extra collaboration functions for musicians (Trello income model).
- Paid commercials or sponsorship by: conservatory (new students, innovative image), music studio's (recording music), city counsel (innovative image, sponsoring culture and art), radio channels, musicians (putting a link to your website or to your music channel/new album)
- Providing access to a worldwide community of musicians for recruiters and bands (Linkedin income model)
- Defining idea, making a business model
- Check uniqueness idea and attitude towards it with potential customers and sponsors
- Create minimum viable product (MVP) to test if early adopters want to participate and buy/donate
- Ask direct feedback and measure continuously what parts of the service/product are good and which are not
- Refine the product/service based on what customers want/use and continue measuring and refining
Input for the MVP:
- use soundcloud or youtube as cloud medium so others can hand over, judge and arrange the music pieces.
- try with a non-curated or minimally curated sequence that anyone can contribute to
- start testing the process with existing online (free) software, non-automated judgement and with a small group of musicians
- small goals first, for example: every two weeks one hour of composed music that connects to the other the next week.
- try to engage existing (internet) radio stations to hand over certain programs (e.g. reviews of new pieces) to one another and make that sequence of programs available for later access
Which organizations to contact for funding
Steps to get there
Which first steps do we need to take?
- finish main idea
- feedback of musicians and conservatory on the idea
- engage more people to think about ideas, to try them, and to realize them
- create team
- make a businessmodel to convince sponsors
- make marketing plan for gathering musicians, listeners and sponsors
- make design for minimum viable product and way to measure success
- test process of never ending music (could it work?)
- find sponsors
- develop minimum viable product (MVP)
- promote project, gather participants and get more sponsors
- Launch MVP
- Measure, Learn
Comparable initiatives and their method
- Longplayer is a one thousand year long musical composition conceived and composed by Jem Finer. It began playing at midnight on the 31st of December 1999 at the Lighthouse in Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, and intends to continue to play without repetition until the last moment of 2999, at which point it hopes to complete its cycle and begin again.
- John Cage planned his composition ORGAN2/ASLSP (as slow as possible) to last 639 years. A performance in Halberstadt Germany was begun in 2001.
- Canto Ostinato, a composition by Simeon ten Holt, is variable in length, some suggest it might in principle be continued indefinitely.
- Danny Hillis' 10,000 year clock in the mountain built by the LongNow Foundation
- Greg Blonder's TiWalkMe Escapement, a Ten Thousand Year Forest - Timepiece
- Painter Roman Opalka documented time in his details 1965 / 1 – ∞, stating "the fundamental basis of my work, to which I have dedicated my life, manifests itself in a process of recording a progression that both documents time and also defines it."
- In Personal Structures artists work around space, time and existence. Their 2009 essay draws on Martin Heidegger's Being and Time.
- Alicia Eggert created pieces dealing with time, including Eternity and Between Now And Then
- Daniel Mullen painted a series called Future monuments including a painting called Monument to the future
- On Kawara's Time series and One million years read eg, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
- Joseph Beuys' social sculpture 7000 Eichen (7000 oaks) has a temporal element. It was initiated at 1982 at documenta 7, completed in 1987 and since 2003 maintained by a foundation. DIA has an introduction.
- Time Buoys issued a call For Designs That Promote Long-Term Thinking to trigger long-term thinking in public spaces by promoting and disseminating physical reminders that will remain present for millenia, but the site has gone offline.
- The Letters of Utrecht