The Artangel Longplayer Conversation 2014

The 2014 Longplayer Conversation between Brian Eno and David Graeber took place 7pm, Tuesday 7 October 2014 at the Royal Geographical Society, London SW7.

Longplayer Conversation 2014: David Graeber and Brian Eno from Artangel on Vimeo.

Eno has a long history with Longplayer, forming part of the think tank that helped Finer develop the original project and writing the first Longplayer Letter to Nassim Nicholas Taleb last year.
Graeber is currently Professor of Anthopology at the London School for Economics. He is an activist who has worked extensively with the Global Justice Movement and Occupy Wall Street. Graeber is also the author of a number of books including Debt: The First 5,000 Years and has written articles for The Guardian, Al Jazeera and Harpers.

More about Longplayer

Overview of Longplayer

Longplayer is a one thousand year long musical composition. It began playing at midnight on the 31st of December 1999, and will continue to play without repetition until the last moment of 2999, at which point it will complete its cycle and begin again. Conceived and composed by Jem Finer, it was originally produced as an Artangel commission, and is now in the care of the Longplayer Trust.

Conceptual Background

While Longplayer is most often described as a 1000 year long musical composition, the preoccupations that led to its conception were not of a musical nature; they concerned time, as it is experienced and as it is understood from the perspectives of philosophy, physics and cosmology. At extremes of scale, time has always appeared to me as baffling, both in the transience of its passing on quantum mechanical levels and in the unfathomable expanses of geological and cosmological time, in which a human lifetime is reduced to no more than a blip.

How does Longplayer work?

The composition of Longplayer results from the application of simple and precise rules to six short pieces of music. Six sections from these pieces – one from each – are playing simultaneously at all times. Longplayer chooses and combines these sections in such a way that no combination is repeated until exactly one thousand years has passed.

About Longplayer's Survival

From its initial conception, a central part of the Longplayer project has been about considering strategies for the future. How does one keep a piece of music playing across generations? How does one prepare for its technological adaptability, knowing how few technologies have remained viable over the last millenium? How does one legislate for its upkeep? And how can one communicate that responsibility to those who might be looking after it some 950 years after its original custodians have perished?