David Cunningham

The music or sound of the various installations documented on this website has a structure based on physical principles, the inherent resonances of the space.  It is what the composer Alvin Lucier has described as non-intentionality, rather than chance or indeterminacy.

Lucier makes a comparison with the ordering structures behind of a flock of birds in flight or a school of dolphins, the innate processes of the ecological or physical world.

This way of working allows a process to take its natural course, not to force something on to or out of the work - thereby allowing the content and the process to be the same thing.

 birds in flight

A soundscape involving natural complexity is something our ears are instinctively very comfortable with - (we probably unconsciously or instinctively) recognise the structure.

A comparison of how this could work is the act of looking at a tree - you don't look at every branch and leaf individually but they're all there if you want to look closer, you can enjoy a very different sense of ordering (in comparison to a man-made artefact) just by recognising the generality of tree and the variations of the generality and the specific. The idea of trying to work with natural complexity in a musical situation interested and frustrated me for a long time until I realised that I'd been working with it for a long time. In sound, natural complexity is acoustic reflection, resonance, air moving in space and the generation of harmonics.

return to:
Kanazawa Installation
Activated Space
see also:
Alvin Lucier information