INSTRUMENTATION: piccolo flute/writing pad, bass clarinet/objects, percussion/objects, inside piano, tabletop guitar, violin/typewriter, cello



PREMIERE: April 8th, 2017 at Forum Neuer Musik by Deutschlandfunk in Köln by Curious Chamber Players, conducted by Rei Munakata

COMMISSION: Deutschlandfunk

ABOUT: we live in a transitional period. Systems that we believed to be solid for decades or centuries are gradually falling apart. Economic growth has been trusted as a positive structure for human development but little by little the negative side effects have been growing out of hand. Democracy, equality and humanism are values we have taken for granted, but the present time shows that we actually need to fight for them to remain. The crucial point is though, that all effort in these important areas might prove in vain if we don’t focus on the most demanding challenge that influences every person living on earth…

Symptoms indicating that the planet is becoming worn out are flooding in from everywhere around the globe – the Arctic glaciers are melting, new summer heat records are set in India, the Kiribati islands are slowly sinking into the ocean, the Amazonas are rapidly decreasing. Since the 1950:ies many parameters that are important for human well being show a dramatic accelerating change – carbon oxide, methane, deforestation, land degradation, overfishing. The world population has grown from 2 million people around 10 000 years ago to 7 billion today. We are at the moment entering the sixth phase of extinction with species of animals disappearing 114 times faster than normally. The question is not if but when the world as we know it will collapse completely?

The plants have on the other hand a very solid system and network that have worked for millions of years, while maintaining the sustainability of the planet. Current research makes clear that plants are far more complex and strategic existences than we ever knew before and they might even be better at solving problems than us. They are also far more powerful in their presence on earth; if you would weigh everything alive, plants make up 99,7 %, while humans and animals represent only the last 0,3 %. The two plants in focus here – bamboo and kudzu – are two of the most fast growing plants on earth. Kudzu is a beautiful perennial vine that climbs over trees and objects and grows so rapidly that everything underneath is threatened by its heavy shading. Bamboos are the fastest-growing plants in the world.

We depend completely on the plants and would in fact be extinguished within a few weeks if plants were to disappear. On the other hand plants like kudzu and bamboo would be perfectly fine if not even better off without a single human on earth. If the sixth phase of extinction becomes reality it would take less than a century until the traces our civilisation are invisible and everything is covered in lush green…

Reports from newspapers around the world and fragments from researchers articles and presentations are the frame of kudzu. They are present as projections of live drawing and live type writing, as well as recorded voices.

While a choir of amplified hourglasses is lamenting our remaining time on earth, we follow the expansion of kudzu – represented by cello and guitar – and the growth of bamboo – bass clarinet and violin. The other ongoing path is the destruction of the soil (percussion), the water (piano) and the air (piccolo flute) resulting in a gradually warmer climate.

PUBLISHER: Svensk Musik