Nicholas R. Nelson

The growing website of composer and technologist Nicholas R. Nelson

West Florissant 2014: The Year They Stopped Caring Who Watches

Today seems the day to post it, or at least the week.  The DOJ report into the policing practices of the Fergusson Police Department has been released.  And I've... well I've addressed that, at least from the side.

The report can be found here.

This was... difficult.  Frankly, this piece almost didn't get written.

Yes, I understand that the situation in Ferguson is entirely morally clear.
For both sides.

And that made this difficult.  I write music because I think that music can access a mode of truth that is difficult—though not impossible—to put into words: music can be a form of philosophy. 

So I remain committed to the idea that everyone acting on West Florissant was acting in their own rational self-interest: at least in the short term; and I desire to understand the feelings on both 'sides' of this non-sided issue, and how those feelings tend to reinforce that short-term interest. I am not saying that "both sides are at fault," I am saying that both sides believe that the other one is.  

And no further progress is in any way possible until understanding of each side's position is possible.  In a perfect world, this piece sonifies those positions: fear, agression and impatience.  

This piece was played in NYC (the financial capitol), Boston (the spiritual capitol), and Washington DC (the political capitol).  AuditivVokal Dresden and Ensemble Moto Perpetuo did an amazing job; I cannot explain how moved I was by the performer's dedication to this troubling and grey moral position.