Longplayer Assembly 2020

The Longplayer Assembly: 26th September 2020

The Longplayer Assembly, in association with the London Review of Books, brought together 24 distinct voices from around the world in an exchange of ideas about our times; past, present and future. The 12-hour long conversation was streamed live online and introduced by Ansuman Biswas.

The Assembly was produced by Artangel.

The schedule:

Introduction from Ansuman Biswas (Artist and Musician)
Precious Lunga (Epidemiologist and Entrepreneur) in conversation with Eyal Weizman (Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures)
Eyal Weizman in conversation with Brian Eno (Artist, Producer and Musician)
Brian Eno in conversation with Amia Srinivasan (Philosopher and Academic)
Amia Srinivasan in conversation with Farhana Yamin (Climate Lawyer and Justice Activist)
Farhana Yamin in conversation with Helen Thompson (Professor of Political Economy)
Helen Thompson in conversation with Will Prentice (Sound Preservationist)
Will Prentice in conversation with Vibeke Mascini (Artist and Writer)
Vibeke Mascini in conversation with Theodore Zeldin (Philosopher, Sociologist and Historian)
Theodore Zeldin in conversation with Mariana Mazzucato (Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value)
Mariana Mazzucato in conversation with Laurie Anderson (Artist, Performer, Composer, and Writer)
Laurie Anderson in conversation with Mulindwa Moses (Climate Activist)
Mulindwa Moses in conversation with Sukhdev Sandhu (Professor of English and Social and Cultural Analysis)
Sukhdev Sandhu in conversation with Saskia Sassen (Professor of Sociology)
Saskia Sassen in conversation with Rupert Beale (Clinician Scientist)
Rupert Beale in conversation with Holly Jean Buck (Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability)
Holly Jean Buck in conversation with Jacqueline Springer (Broadcaster, Journalist, and Curator)
Jacqueline Springer in conversation with Alexander Rose (Industrial Designer)
Alexander Rose in conversation with Meehan Crist (Writer)
Meehan Crist in conversation with Naomi Alderman (Novelist and Game Writer)
Naomi Alderman in conversation with Saul Griffith (Inventor and Entrepreneur)
Saul Griffith in conversation with Catalina Ortiz (Urbanist and Associate Professor)
Catalina Ortiz in conversation with John Akomfrah (Artist and Filmmaker)
John Akomfrah in conversation with Janna Levin (Astrophysicist)
Janna Levin in conversation with Precious Lunga

More information, including participants biographies, can be found here.

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?