Noel Griffin


Post Pastoral 


Player piano, overhead projector, printed agar plate colonised by bacteria and fungi from soil sample 

‘Post Pastoral’ takes as its inspiration Philip K Dicks story, The Preserving Machine in which people attempt to preserve classical music during a cultural collapse by encoding musical notes into animals. However, mutations in the animals render the musical works unrecognisable, nature and culture compete for existence. Inspired by this narrative, Beethoven’s 6th symphony, also known as his ‘pastoral’ is translated into a living form, encoding the score in a petri dish. A soil sample gathered from a pastoral landscape is spread over the living score and is colonised by bacteria and fungi. The piece is rendered back into musical form and performed, however nature has rendered the symphony unrecognisable, its harmonies and form mutated. As time passes, the pastoral symphony becomes further and further from its original, Beethovens ideas superseded by non human composers.

The work seeks to subvert traditional pastoral ideas of nature which places humans over nature towards a mutual entanglement of the human and the non-human.