things whole and not whole (2011)
things whole and not whole (2011) takes its title from the tenth fragment of Heraclitus, which states ‘Things grasped together: things whole and not whole, what is drawn together and what is drawn asunder, the harmonious and the discordant. The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one.’ The starting point for the piece was the analysis of flocking behaviour in birds made by Craig Reynolds, in which he made computer-graphic simulations of flocking ‘boids’. Their movement was governed by three simple rules: a clumping force which keeps the flock together, a separation force which keeps them apart, and an ability to match velocity. The individual boids follow these rules, and the flock movement emerges from their interaction. In things whole and not whole, the interaction of the players is governed by rule-based cueing: players make sounds in response to those made by other players, choosing different reference players for each new sound. They also have some autonomy in the selection of sound-producing materials. From the perspective of the birds or players, the immediate world is in flux, but seen from the outside the whole is more readily apparent. things whole and not whole develops my interest in group behaviour as an organising principle, and in the use of collaborative approaches to score-making. things whole and not whole was commissioned by Basel Sinfonietta with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.
Live performance by Basel Sinfonietta in Huddersfield Town Hall at hcmf on 20 November 2011.