Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Synchronicity of Indeterminacy photo blog is to be a synchronous experiment in creativity and indeterminacy. It will feature photos randomly found via p2p sharing programs paired with an ultra-short story inspired by the found photograph. Real lives and an imagined story will be linked by that visual image captured for all eternity. Any resemblance between fantasy and reality will be a consequence of synchronicity. The idea is based on the Indeterminacy recordings by John Cage, pairing one-minute short stories with random sounds.

In 1984 I finished my studies and began working and earning more money than I was used to spending. It was an easy problem to solve. I just learned to spend more money. Music began to interest me and I decided to explore the different types of music and build up the "ultimate" record collection. I first saw the word "indeterminacy" when I read it in "The New Rolling Stone Record Guide" under John Cage. The brief description ran:

"Indeterminacy is ninety stories read by Cage, each told within the space of a minute, and none having anything to do with the next. They are inadvertently punctuated by tape, piano and radio provided by David Tudor, and became points of reference on a map of magic and invention."

This description fascinated me. I wanted that record, and believe me, I searched for it in every record store I entered. It could never be ordered. It just wasn't available. When I moved to Europe in the late 80's I continued my search there, in various shops in over ten different countries. I always checked under "C", in every record store I was in, on the off chance that I would finally find it. My search ended in 1992, about eight years after I had first read that entry in the Record Guide. It had been reissued on CD. Indeterminacy has since become one of my favorite recordings of all time. I keep it on the shelf with Kurt Schwitter's Ursonate, my Velvet Underground CDs, The Residents, Kiev's "Get Out of My Basement" and Gary Wilson's "You Think You Really Know Me" and "Another Galaxy", which also happens to be one of the rarest records in the entire galaxy.

John Cage's idea with indeterminacy was to read his stories completely independent of David Tudor. During the recording each was in a separate room and had no knowledge of what the other was doing. The stories and the sounds would come together in a completely unrelated way, lending new meaning to the whole, which became more than the sum of the two parts.

Synchronicity is a concept explored by the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. It describes what he calls "meaningful coincidences" or the simultaneous occurrence of two indeterminate events which are so astonishingly in concordance as to suggest a paranormal cause; for example: a vivid dream of a certain event, and the subsequent occurrence of that event; or recalling the name of a long, lost friend, and then unexpectedly running into that friend around the next corner. If we are open to the art of indeterminacy around us, to the beauty of coinciding events, we sensitize ourselves to a greater recognition and appreciation of the synchronicity in our lives.

This blog is a variation on the Indeterminacy idea, linking one-minute short stories, stories that might be read within the space of a minute, with photographs randomly downloaded using p2p programs. The indeterminacy is perhaps theoretical in this case as it can only be perceived by reading the stories with knowledge of the lives behind the photographs, and seeing how they contrast and complement each other. The lives and the stories are the two elements which exist independent of each other. On the other hand the visitor to this blog might first view the photo and imagine his/her own reality behind it, and then see how this goes together with the one I imagined. Whatever results from pairing the photographs with short stories that they inspired, I believe it is an experiment worth trying.

6 comments:

Synchronicity Evangelist said...

I love the way you have been weaving your life all these years with the thread of synchronicity. I will take a while to believe that you exist! :D

For sure, my visit to your blog has a special meaning.

Thank you Universe for bringing me here!

hypermonk said...

Your blog is food for the soul. It creates beauty from random nothingness.

Indeterminacy said...

Hypermonk: Thank you so much for the kind comment. I believe the random events occurring around us are part of the beautry of life.

li'l star said...

Honestly, it was just coincidence that brought me here. However this site has given me an extreme enthusiasm. I believe that this site could offer me alot of learnings about life & what you call the synchronicity of indeterminacy :)

Indeterminacy said...

Li'l Star: I'm very happy you found your way here, whatever the coincidence. I don't know if my stories will teach much about synchronicity - but it's an idea that has always fascinated me, as I've written here.

cyurkanin said...

You're fascinating man with an unbelievable project here. It's going to take me a few weeks to catch up.