The Longplayer Conversation 2017

*The Longplayer Conversation 2017 has sold out. Subscribe to our Twitter @Longplayer or check back here nearer the time for more information about how to watch*

The 2017 Longplayer Conversation, between Chris Watson and Sir David Attenborough, will take place from 7pm on Monday 27th November at the Knowledge Centre, British Library, London NW1.

To purchase tickets click here.

Sir David Attenborough and Chris Watson on location in Galapagos

 

The 2017 Longplayer Conversation brings together long time collaborators, sound recordist Chris Watson and naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. Join us for what promises to be a fascinating conversation informed by their shared interests and experiences as sound recordists in the natural world.

Chris Watson began his career in sound in the late 1970s as a musician and since the ‘90s has been one of the foremost sound recordists of wildlife and natural phenomena. A collaborator on natural history broadcasts with Sir David for over two decades, Chris continues to travel the world as a freelance recordist whilst also producing albums.

David Attenborough’s first work in natural history broadcasting drew him into the world of sound recording and pioneering work with the earliest portable tape recorders on location. David recorded the wildlife and local music for his documentaries, recordings which are now stored for posterity in the British Library Sound Archive. Today, Sir David is one of the world’s most recognised advocates for the protection of our environments now and for the future.

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?