[ Frank Rothkamm Allegory of the Cave ]

The late John Berger’s engagement with the thought of the 17th-century lens grinder, draughtsman and philosopher Baruch Spinoza is not easy to classify, so much so that it is considered “sui generis” which is a Latin phrase, meaning "of its own kind; in a class by itself; unique". But, couldn’t the same be said about anything really, in the sense that every thing is unique? It is the way of seeing really, that makes the object what it is. We consider what makes the object different from others, or what it has in common with others. This does not solve what the object really is, the truth of the object or in Martin Heidegger’s terms, its Being. Since Immanuel Kant we know that we may never know how the object is independent of our perception or understanding, in and by itself, because we can only know the world according to our God-given facilities, or we cannot transcend reason. Since Friedrich Nietzsche we know that “God is dead, God remains dead and we have killed him”. So much so that Nietzsche thought it necessary to bring forth a new science: The Gay Science. Here at the Lodge For Utopian Science, we have seen the corpse of God. It was neither dead nor alive because since Erwin Schrödinger we know how to make a mathematical prediction as to what path a given system will take, following a set of known initial conditions. It is no longer Newtonian, but a linear partial differential equation. Isaac Newton, who spent much of his time on the royal arts, published his second law in 1687 and it gives a clear answer. Schrödinger’s answer on the other hand, will take an indefinite amount of time to come to certainty, because of the nature of differential equations, which are an ever decreasing approximation to certainty. That was in 1926. In 2017 the question that occupies us, who live in the US, is of course: Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Are you? Let me put this in Heidegger’s terms by quoting him: “What is the instrumental itself?” Indeed. We try to reach Being, but mistake the means to this end, our technology as it were, as neutral. We do not ask how Being becomes to and by itself, that is our asking, observing or computing plays the role of what Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise would call “Make it so”. The means by which an instrumental being became power was clearly demonstrated last year. In 140 characters or less. Since being smarter than a 5th grader is clearly up for debate, we observed and therefore created a monster by the simple fact of paying attention to it. Berger knew this well and he tried to diffuse our gaze by looking at a bigger picture because the longer we look at people in clothes the more we mistake the clothes for the person, the instrument for Being. Our attention makes it so. Thusly, in 2017 we must ask different questions. Instead of “who is dead?” we shall ask “what is alive?”. Instead of counting characters or votes, we shall make decisions with a sword, or as in the King James Bible: “And the king said: 'Fetch me a sword.' And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said: 'Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.'” Martin Luther translated this as “Holet mir ein Schwert her!”. But who pays attention to living and royal artists?


   
Catalog No: FLX76.407
Title: Allegory of the Cave
Sound Artist: Frank Rothkamm
Visual Artist: Jan Saenredam
Holger Rothkamm
Label: Flux Records
Length: 1:00:39 (3639s)
Composed: 2014-2015
Location: Los Angeles
Instruments: Calf
Csound
Python
Ardour
Release Date: 1/2/2017
Format: Digital