Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Invisible Cities - Soundscape? Baucis history and analysis

I had my iTunes music on in the background while I was working and this song; '81 by Joanna Newsom, came on, and as I listened I kept making connections between the song and Baucis. I know we don't need to include any sound or have any sound connections for this project but listening to/analysing this song has helped me develop a kind of history for Baucis and I feel the song is now an integral part of my development process and inspiration, so as always, it must be documented!

Below are the lyrics to the song with my own analysis of them in relation to Baucis. I am taking the approach from Calvino's text that Baucians are self sufficient and do not inhabit the Earth becasue "they respect it so much they avoid all contact; that they love it as it was before they existed". I understand the lyrics were likely originally written about Newsoms conception and birth, and her religious beliefs, however I read very much into it as almost as the world history as told by a Baucian; the reason for their isolation above the world. Further, just the calm/relaxed tempo and sound of the song reflects the serene environment I want to create with Baucis. The areas [highlighted in green] are my analysis.

[song begins as human kind come into conciousness of abilities to change world around them/manipulate for gain etc
I found a little plot of land [here "I" or the self is human kind, later developing into Baucian]
in the garden of Eden  [the Earth]
it was dirt and dirt is all the same [nothing special]

I tilled it with my two hands  [changed the environment]
and I called it my very own  [laying claim to something just because they could] [they=human kind]
There was no-one to dispute my claim  [nature couldn't deny - 'world' had no say]

Well, you'd be shocked at the state of things  [pollution, war, chaos]
The whole place has just cleared right out  [industrialisation, deforestation, shrinking of 'green' areas]
It was hotter than hell, so I laid me by a spring  ["hotter than hell" - polluted, air thick with smog, industrial heat/steam, "hell" religious connotations - made the earth "hotter" read:worse than the place of punishment - living worse than death
For a spell, as naked as a trout ["laid by a spring" (interpret: laying beside a stream in Eden) here Newsom is likely making reference to Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost,  the fall of man from the garden of Eden, interpret the fall of human kind through their destruction of their Eden, Earth.]

The wandering eye that I have caught
Is as hot as a wandering sun
But I will want for nothing more, in my garden
start again, in my hardening to every heart but one  ["start again" - realisation of what has done, wants "nothing more" than the garden - Earth -  to go back to before they "tilled it", "hardening to every hear but one" - losing love for man made objects/things, see the true meaning/beauty of the original Earth]

[in this time Baucis is created
Meet me in the garden of Eden, [welcome to the new world
Bring a friend, we are going to have ourselves a time  [all are welcome, things will be better
We are going to have a garden party, it's on me  ["garden party" - celebration of Baucis and celebration of regeneration of 'new' Earth, "on me" - thanks to the creation of Baucis by Baucians.]
No, sirree, it's my dime  [Baucians did this all themselves, off their own back, just want to share it with others, don't expect anything in return, no payment, above materialistic ideals]

We broke out hearts in the war between
St. George and the dragon [St George and the dragon is about good overcoming evil through help of god - good = nature loving Baucians overcoming evil of the industrial obsessed earth, through enlightenment of beauty of earth/nature after "breaking hearts" in the "war" - unhappiness between natural and unnatural destruction/chaos]
But both, in equal part, are welcome to come along [all are welcome, even though who still value materialistic things
I'm inviting everyone [everyone should come, not about exclusion but inclusion and enlightenment

Farewell to loves that I have known  [goodbye to materialistic ideals]
Even muddiest waters run  [even the dirtiest things become clean again over time - even the polluted earth can be "fixed"]
Tell me what is meant by sin, or none, in a garden  ["sin" = pollution, destruction but "or none?", as is now in repair, fixed]
Seceded from the union in the year of '81? [union between natural world and city of Baucis coexisting, harmony

The unending amends you've made ["unending amends" - city is self sufficient and helps the environment around it - unending city that gives back to the world people once destroyed
Are enough for one life, be done [Baucians have done their job, they have reached the epitome of development/evolution
I believe in innocence, little darling, start again  [belief that all can be repaired, earth started over
I believe in everyone [belief that all of mankind will one day come around to this way of thinking
(because in Calvinos description: "seven days march through woodland" - Baucis is cut off by natural landscape from the rest of the world  - the place you have marched from, still in destruction
I believe, regardless, I believe in everyone  [not all of human kind there yet, but one day]

This analysis got me thinking more about the background of things - I looked up the meaning of "Baucis"and found from Wikipedia it comes from Greek/Roman mythology, "Baucis and Philemon were an old married couple... the only ones in their town to welcome disguised godZeus and Hermes... thus embodying the pious exercise of hospitality, the ritualized guest-friendship". This in itself reading into Baucis (Baucian people) are the only ones to welcome (realise) "disguised gods - " Zeus being the beauty of Earth, Hermes, the messenger, the spreading of the message of going back to how things were before human existence. "Ritualised guest-friendship" - as in a mutualistic relationship rather than parasitic of Buacians being a guest on Earth, rather than a "master/owner", and also a "friend" as both sides benefit, symbiosis. I just thought this was quite a cool connection between the background of my city's name and the links/back story I am creating for the city. 

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