An illustrated reading of Alexander Pope's "Know then thyself" from his ESSAY ON MAN followed by a slide choreography of Hubert Howe's 01 Scenario (Extended Mix). The images of the one evolved into artifacts in the other. The title comes from the opening lines of what for me, as a child, was a very promising but ultimately quintessentially boring 1939 movie.
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a god, or beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of thought and passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
The form is the familiar iambic pentameter lines rhyming at the end in pairs.
Of this work, composer Hubert writes:
"The basic idea behind my Harmonic Fantasy No. 2 for Piano and Electronic Sounds is that the fixed media part, generated by computer, resonates and complements the sounds of the piano. There is never any opposition, or even any counterpoint, between the two forces in the work. There are four sections to the piece, which are like four separate movements. In the beginning, the piano plays a few notes, and the computer sustains them, while emphasizing certain upper partials in a repeated pattern. This idea continues in the second section, which is a slow passage that builds increased complexity through accretion, by adding more notes to the passage that it began with. The third section begins when the piano starts scale-like passages in the higher register. These notes are actually the same resonances that have been used in the opening, only now the computer plays the lower fundamentals to which these are the resonances. These roles exchange in the last section, where the piano returns to playing low, sustained tones while the computer resonates the upper harmonics. The term “harmonic” does not refer to harmony in the traditional sense, but to overtones, which are the focus of the sounds.
"The score shows only the fundamental frequencies, not the resonances of the upper partials which are such an important part of the piece’s surface texture. The position of notes on the staves in the fixed media part is not significant; they are only a convenience that enables the notes to be written in the most economical manner.
"The piece was commissioned by Nancy Bogen and is dedicated to her and to her husband, Arnold Greissle-Schoenberg."
These are basically digitized photos taken by me hither and yon over the years with my Canon EOS 7D and my earlier Nikon D-90, both with a 20 x 200 zoom lens. Once I scanned the photos, I edited and in some cases composited them in Photoshop, and then assembled the resultant digital images along with a video clip into a “show” in Proshow Producer.