Bret Battey - Autarkeia Aggregatum

Duration: 10'

Autarkeia Aggregatum is an integrated sound and image composition emphasizing continuous flow and transformation. There are no cuts or splices in the visual aspect of the work; it unfolds instead as a constantly evolving, massed animation of a set of over 11,000 individual points.

When seeking a title for the piece, I turned to the Monadology — the philosopher Leibniz’s theory of fundamental particles of reality (monads). I appropriated the two words from that work: autarkeia (Greek) for self-sufficiency, and aggregatum (Latin) meaning joined, aggregated. The terms together appropriately suggest an aggregation of the activities of autonomous entities. More subtly, a resonance with Classicism draws me to the words. The resonance is one of an inner fullness of being expressed outwardly in elegant, self-sufficient restraint.

I produced the sound for Autarkeia Aggregetum with the help of the musical composition and synthesis programming languages Common Lisp Music (by Bill Shotstaedt) and Common Music (by Rick Taube). A primary tool was my Pitch Curve Analysis and Composition toolkit (PICACS) for providing naturalistic and expressive glissandi and continuous-pitch melodies. The animation technique involves various rotational algorithms, constrained Brownian motion, and time blurring, implemented as a custom plug-in for Apple’s Motion 2 video effects software.



Bret Battey