Fabio Morreale

Senior lecturer

Astrolabe & Anthropocene (2024)

Astrolabe & Anthropocene is a composition commissioned by the Auckland Art

This composition is a celestial symphony orchestrated by the cosmic ballet of the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun. With each passing moment, it metamorphoses, following astronomical features like the current lunar phase, tidal pattern, Sun-Earth distance, and Earth’s rotation. As the day unfolds and the seasons shift, so too does the music in its perpetual evolution. However, as a mirror and reminder of our time period, the Anthropocene, human activity also affects the composition. The presence and trajectories of the Library visitors within this space also shape the musical landscape. Though unwitting, people become players in the spectacle, not mere silent observers.

The astrolabe is a an ancient instrument for astronomical measure. The composition is influenced in real-time by four astronomical parameters:

  1. Sun-Earth distance, computed using Kepler’s Third Law, period: once a year
  2. Moon phase, period: 29.53 days
  3. Tides (lunar day); period: 24 hours and 50 minutes
  4. Earth’s rotation: period: 24 hours

The graphs below show a representation of the four parameters, each normalised between 0 and 1.

The anthropocene is deemed by many as being the current geological epoch, as defined by the dominant influence of human activities on Earth’s environment and ecosystems. The composition embodies such influence. The presence and trajectories of library visitors have a subtle impact on the composition. Visitors’ positions are tracked using computer vision tecniques hooked up to a CCTV camera. This offers a further commentary on the ubiquity of surveillance tools in our daily lives (the videos are not recorded, not seen by any human).

Year: 2024
Role: ideation, compostion
Music: Composed in SuperCollider by Fabio Morreale