“the inorganic body of its lord”

In Si el clima, the tape part is supposed to represent nature (actually it is following an idea of evolution taken from Stephen Jay Gould) with respect to the pianist. There’s supposed to be an antagonistic relation of freedom and constraint, and reciprocal domination between the live pianist and the tape part. Now, it would seem ironic that ‘nature’ is represented by the least natural thing in the room. But is it all that ironic? Here’s Bellamy Foster quoting and riffing on Marx:

“In feudal landownership,” he observed, “we already find the domination of the earth as an alien power over man.” Already the land “appears as the inorganic body of its lord,” who is its master and who uses it to dominate the peasantry. But it is bourgeois society which brings this domination of the earth (and through the domination of the earth the domination of humanity) to perfection, and while apparently opposing the system of landed property comes to depend upon it at a key phase in its development. Thus “large-scale landed property, as in England, drives the overwhelming majority of the population into the arms of industry and reduces its own workers to total misery.” (p. 74)

Ok, the link may seem obtuse, but for me this indicates that the domination of man by nature is in fact a result of social relations—property in particular—and that the domination of technology over man coincides historically with the domination of nature over man. In fact, strangely, the most advanced technology (represented in the tape part) may be the best symbol of nature’s domination of man that we can bring into the concert hall. This is a very rudimentary thought at this stage, and not explained particularly well. But I think there’s something in it for my piece. Will think on it some more…

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