Max Cooper teams up with director Kevin McGloughlin to create a mesmerizing video for his single “Repetition”
We live in a time when technology and innovation is advancing faster than we could imagine. Will we soon live in a time where technology has outlived us? Will the new innovations that we come up with this century be the things that ultimately lead to our obsolescence?
For most of human history, people would have lived in a world where their reality changed very little from birth to death. They would see very little innovation in their lifetimes and the world would seem solid and unchanging. Sure, things like “the wheel” and fire would be discovered and change human life forever after, but those innovations would only come every thousand years or so. For the most part, the world humans were born into, would be the world they would die in.
Not so long ago, this has changed. Some would argue that 500 years ago, during the renaissance, innovation started to increase at an exponential rate. The plough made harvesting food quicker and more efficient, and the population boomed. The industrial revolution dawned and brought goods and services to people faster than ever. A better understanding of medicine helped people live longer. The invention of the car. The plane. All of these things helped to create a safer more prosperous habitat for homo sapiens across the planet.
But up until the last few decades, these innovations were still relatively slow. A new innovation would take generations to appear. The world that someone in the 1800s was born into would have been very similar to the one they died in. Sure, new inventions would have been conceived, but for the most part it would have been the same world.
Today, things are very different. Innovation and technology is moving faster than we can imagine. If you were to take someone that was born in 1900 and transport them through time to the year 2000, they would see a world that was unrecognizable to them. Commercial flight, the internet, communicating with people across the world face to face through video…. It would have been unbelievable.
In fact, you don’t have to go back that far to make this story extraordinary. My mother was born in the 50s — a time where the internet didn’t exist and color TV was a luxury. If I were to have gone back to 1950 and tell my mom that in 50 years she will be talking to me from New York while I was in London through a video screen… I think she would have laughed at me. “How on earth would you do that,” she would say. To which I would answer “with the internet of course.” Which in turn would bring about its own set of questions. In short, within 50 years, the world has changed so much that science fiction films of the day wouldn’t have been able to predict the kinds of things we’ve achieved now.
For the generation that is about to be born now — in the year 2020 — this advancement will be 10-fold. The world will look so different than what we expect that we won’t even be able to imagine it. The fact is, that technology and innovation is moving at a super-human speed. Our lives can no longer be used a context for how fast things are developing.
This endless pursuit of growth and “progress” — the unquenchable quest of our societies to create infinite growth both financially and materialistically — is starting to look like the beginning of our downfall.
For his fourth studio album, Belfast-born producer, Max Cooper combines music, visual art, technology and science to start to ask questions about these issues. “I set about trying to tell this human story using the history of our obsessions with the infinite, and its many different renderings in Religion, the arts and sciences,” explains Cooper. “Vast abstract infinite structures are set against imagery of us, telling a story of our nature, but also putting us in place as part of the system, not free from it, but biased and constrained to embody our human-ness.”
The album was originally conceived in 2019 when he was invited to work with the Barbican in London on their “Life Rewired” exhibition. The exhibition spent a season exploring what it means to be human when technology and innovation is changing everything.
After working on the exhibition, Cooper came up with a spin-off project of his own called “Yearning for the Infinite.” With this project, Cooper sets out to distill down the ideas presented in Life Rewired into one principle which he could visualize for his new album.
“I wanted to make something huge and intense for the new live show,” says Cooper. “I went for a project attempting to visualise the infinite and its links to us in our everyday lives. The project also reflects my desire to present the power of everything, all the scale, noise, intensity, emotion I want to express.”
He goes on to talk about how that theory applies to the whole album: “For every chapter of the story I found a different technique to approach it, in this case, the simple idea of repetition. Apply it, and we have a form of infinity. This was also a natural fit for my music, where I had a nice excuse to push the repetitive boat out even more than usual. I kept it very stripped back to focus on the idea, with slow evolution and occasional variants to maintain some melodic engagement.”
To bring this all to life visually, Cooper worked with a few different artists. On “Repetition” he teamed up with artist and director, Kevin McGloughlin to dramatize the idea of the infinite through repetition.
“‘Repetition’ is an attempt to convey the importance of our endless endeavours toward human development and growth amidst a chaotic and disorienting landscape,” explains McGlouglin. “The struggle for a fruitful future is challenging with the distractions of everyday life alongside its ever-growing technological ‘advancements’. The hope is for humanity to strive through all of this in a meaningful and positive way.”
Buy a beautifully designed copy of Yearning for the Infinite on recycled vinyl in the Max Cooper store.Max Cooper – Repetition
Max Cooper – Perpetual Motion