it is the behaviour that a system tends towards and encourages that needs to be understood (2021)

it is the behaviour that a system tends towards and encourages that needs to be understood (2020-21) is a piece that explores the way individual decision-making can invigorate community action to change a local or wider environment.

The title is drawn from Owen Jones’s The Establishment (2015), in which he notes how ‘an ever more unequal distribution of wealth leaves those with power feeling that they have every right to even greater slices of it’. By focusing on a localised decision-making process and distribution of resources and agency, the resulting piece evidences the priorities that emerge from the players as a group and how they might shift over time. The aim of the piece, socially, is to explore how placing decision-making power in local levels of social organisation (individual players, immediate neighbours) might lead to broader consensus. It focuses on participatory decision-making instead of representative decision-making where power is ceded to selected others.

The piece involves players verbally cueing selections from a pool of material to create connections with each other, with other cues modifying the way the material is played. Players can give cues themselves and respond to those of others in order to investigate how concerted activity might emerge.

At a time where communities are being separated, divisions are emphasised, and autocratic government is prevalent, my hope in this piece is to explore how people might work together at a local level to generate change rather than have it imposed on them by external forces.

Commissioned by Neue Musik für Alle e.V. funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. First performed by KNM Campus Ensemble with CoMA ensembles from the Netherlands and UK at KNM campus days, Klangwerkstatt 2021, Haus Bethanien, Berlin, 14.11.21.

Score preview below, or download from the scores page.