SOCIETY OF MIND
"What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is no trick. The power of intelligence stems from our vast diversity,
not from any single, perfect principle. Our species has evolved many
effective although imperfect methods, and each of us individually
develops more on our own. Eventually, very few of our actions and
decisions come to depend on any single mechanism. Instead, they
emerge from conflicts and negotiations among societies of processes
that constantly challenge one another."
-- Marvin Minsky, from The Society of Mind
The Brain Opera will be loosely based on Marvin Minsky's seminal book, The Society of Mind, in which he proposes that human personality is not controlled by a centralized "conductor" in the brain, but rather emerges from seemingly unintelligent and unconnected mental processes, or "agents." With Minsky's theory as a metaphor, participants will reach a new sensitivity to the many different parts of the mind that are engaged when we enjoy and respond to music.
And we hope that a new kind of music will emerge from this project, representing a middle ground between the rigid rules of the classical tradition and the anarchy of the Cageian avant-garde.
The Brain Opera is not structured around a "story," as in traditional opera, but around an all-encompassing emotional and psychological experience in which the audience - both real and online - will be drawn into the mysteries of music and the human mind, to discover and explore the interplay of sensory perception, musical structure, language, memory, thinking and emotion, and actively take part in creating a multimedia work of art in which the composer's musical concepts will be enhanced and transformed by material emerging from the individual and collective contributions of the audience.
We expect the audience/participants to experience this opera at many levels (engaging the diversity of Minskian "agents" in their minds):