Budhaditya Chattopadhyay

Towards an Amicable End

There is a sense of an impending doom in the air. A clear and present danger of climate breakdown hangs over the planet Earth today whether humans pay heed or not to the facts and figures that are lurking around. Perhaps our fear and anxiety lead us to avoid this matter even when we cannot disengage us from the onslaught of information about climate crises and the unavoidable and devastating consequences for our lives. We reacted to a recent global pandemic with a widespread panic, but we did not respond to the climate catastrophe in the same urgent manner. However, the crisis escalates to a worsening situation in which mass extinction and death are inevitable. Multiple warnings from scientists indicate that a tangible end is not far off.

Towards an Amicable End is a sympoetic response to the sense of doom and ending, and probes into humans’ climate avoidance and fear, and sometimes a “white savior” attitude in some parts of the West. As an invocation, the project taps into Fatalism – a philosophical doctrine that stresses the subjugation of events or actions to fate or destiny and is commonly associated with an attitude of resignation in the face of some future events, which are thought to be inevitable. What if we accept the impending doom as a natural course of human condition, such as the completion of a life cycle and death? What if acceptance of an embodied sense of ending opens the door for emancipation from the fear and loathing at present? Fatalism is a much-practiced strand of philosophy in the Global Souths. The approach of fate and destiny has made people in South Asia accept the harsher realities – colonialism, imperialism, economic exploitation, and their outcomes in famine and poverty. Their attitude of humble acceptance of the fate makes them softer, hospitable, reciprocal, and compassionate, unlike the arrogance and self-centeredness permeating in the Western mindset.

Can there be an auditory equivalent to the resonant acceptance, rather than under-listening to the fear and anxiety? Towards an Amicable End emerges from this artistic research, culminating into a generative composition involving archival field recordings of primary climate variables like wind, water, and woods, comprovised by chance generative processes, accompanied by radio interferences transducing situated weather patterns, and weaved together by somber double bass and electronics embracing free improvisation. The work draws from the South Asian ideas of humility and acceptance in the face of a catastrophe in the way sounds are left for contingent self-organization instead of compositional control. The project advocates for humble acceptance of the human fate and destiny creating a premise to counteract today’s fear and angst. The work’s intention is to ask humans to yield to the natural forces and again be part of the symbiosis from which humans have become estranged.

℗ and © Budhaditya Chattopadhyay 2022 – 2023

Thanks to Matteo Marangoni for the samples of double bass.

Duration: 49 minutes