Max Cooper - Symphony in Acid (Official video by Ksawery Komputery)

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Video taken from my 'Unspoken Words' project, which tries to express things that I couldn't put into words. For some visual ideas I turned to the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein, who tackled this issue of the problems with words & their inability to capture every aspect of our lives. Wittgenstein's writing sees the issues of human expression & the links between our symbolism & existence, but also does so in an incomprehensibly dense way. But it has a power when presented as art rather than a technical reading challenge. It's full of feeling & suggestion that we've tried to play with here.

The name, Symphony in Acid, plays on the combination of orchestral-like synthesis with 303-like synthesis of acid house fame. I was trying to merge some disparate ideas in the context of a highly dense & complex, but gridded & rigorous structure, one reminiscent of the Wittgenstein text.

Ksawery did an amazing & painstaking job mapping every sound to text presentations & manipulations following the same principles. Each musical, visual & methodological unit is simple, but in concert the result is this complex information onslaught. I love the effect of trying to take in the meaning & messages of the project, particularly when presented on a big screen & sound system. If you give yourself to it, it's a really intense experience with all the text meanings triggering a tapestry of mental responses.

For me, overall, it creates a strange abstracted experience of the challenges of trying to make sense of the world & express ourselves in it as I try to make sense of the audio visual word barrage, I hope some of you will see what I mean. I apologise to non-English speakers though, I'd love to make multi-language translations of the project as well.

Ksawery has also created a live rendering website version of the project at https://symphonyinacid.net where you can interact with the system & even have your own face rendered in Wittgenstein's words. If you would like to collaborate with us to create digital art with your own unspoken words you can submit those at https://unspokenwords.net/

► Provide your own Unspoken Words: https://www.unspokenwords.net

The final thing to note is that we added a couple of words at the start. Wittgenstein's statement that "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world" is one that I seek to refute with Unspoken Words.

Max suggested using discourses by German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein for the "Symphony in Acid" video right from the start. Wittgenstein’s subjects & conclusions serve as excellent extenders to the fundamentals of the "Unspoken Words" album. Especially in "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" (1921), he explores in depth the concept of limits of language. Wittgenstein investigates various aspects of language, from the atomic point of view (form) to the wide picture (content). The thinker famously stated: "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." I tried to challenge that notion here in the field of visual art.

I build most of my works with code. In this case, I chose a coding environment suitable for rendering typography – an element central to this project. Running code as a website, through a modern internet browser, became the perfect solution. I find the gap between hypertext & 100-year-old paper both significant & inspiring. With my former experience in commercial web development, it was fun & refreshing to use my tools from back then for this new approach.

The dense soundtrack triggered my code in powerful ways. As I listen to it now, I can almost hear atoms interacting, gravitating towards each other to form an object, & then – a whole scenery. Such a wide perspective fuels the imagination & matches the logical-philosophical soul within Wittgenstein’s papers. The ever-evolving atmosphere also helps to create new systems, new scenes. The video starts with just a few letters, that build a word, then a sentence, & finally – whole blocks of text. Having said that, the meaning remains between the lines. The letters can’t exist solely for their form. Eventually, they have to carry information.

We released the website simultaneously with the video as an integral part of the project. The final video shows a single recording of the website being browsed. For the nerds out there, interested in the programming aspect, you can easily access the source code. For a more immersive & playful experience, I added a few interactive options to play with visuals using your mouse & keyboard: https://www.symphonyinacid.net

Video: Ksawery Komputery
Music: Max Cooper
Label: Mesh


All video & audio copyright is owned by Max Cooper - no use without permission.
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