therefore

2014
  • Turing believes machines think
  • Turing lies with men
  • therefore machines do not think
  • - Alan Turing, From a letter to Dr. N. A. Routledge, 1952
  • All my life through,
  • the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child
  • - Marie Curie Pierre Curie (1923), as translated by Charlotte Kellogg and Vernon Lyman Kellogg, p. 162

Alan Turing (1912–1954) imagined a machine capable of love. To him, machines didn’t represent a polar opposite to nature but rather, the epitome of its creation. The perfect machine, perfectly echoing the functioning mind, the mind, while functioning perfectly, able to work as a perfect machine. Playful creativity and calculated method working in perfect tandem.

Marie Curie (1867–1934) was unrelenting in her systematic approach to her laboratory work in Paris. Curie the Chemist, reserved, practical, methodical, was also Marya Sklodowska, the young Polish patriot who danced until her shoes were worn through and rode her bicycle through wild stretches of French countryside on her honeymoon.

In therefore, Alan Turing’s ironic syllogism, written in a letter in 1952 to his friend Norman Routledge, and Marie Curie’s life affirming text from her 1923 book about her late husband Pierre Curie, are set to a melodic line inspired by the Mazurka (Polish Folk Dance). The melody is deconstructed by a triangular number sequence to form a round. The tempi are systematically elastic throughout, speeding up and slowing down over repeated five measure intervals, a steady pulse in slow motion. The entire process blends the systematic with the expressive, the bitter with the sweet, offering no simple answers, no clear endings but rather constantly overlapping realities, all of which are true, all of which are false, moment to moment.


Michael Oesterle CA

Michael Oesterle, born in 1968, is a Canadian composer who lives in Deux-Montagnes Québec.

Michael Oesterle