Viewing Lens, Magnetic Shards, Organisms

for Clarinet in B-flat, Violin, Violoncello, and Piano


About the piece:

From a universal perspective, rigorous physical laws govern the cosmos and galaxies. These same laws also dictate the organization of the an atom’s subcomponents at the most minute scale. Yet, somewhere in between those two lenses we also see humanity, subjectivity, and imagination. To some, this is a departure, a gray area, an escape from the laws that govern us. To others (including myself), it is one and the same. Atoms and humans and planets all share an origin. Traces of humanity are embedded in the fabric of our galaxies. Essences of the universe also lie in our minds.

* * *

A magnetic field is a beautiful organization. Take metal filings dashed on a surface, expose them to such a field. Quite magically, the material snaps into an ellipse-like figure.

This music is a reflection on visual perspectives. A camera captures both the macro and the micro. A satellite in space
can capture a frame of the entire earth, yet also zoom in so incredibly far as to read the nutrition facts on a food label. From one distance we identify and relate to an object; from another, we see new and different things. It is profound that between both perspectives, the object under observation remains the same.

The viewing lens zooms from a planetary perspective, to a human one.

A silly activity I did in elementary school (and occasionally
still do to this present day) was zooming all the way in and out
on Google Maps. It was always so fascinating to me that in
this picture of the entire planet Earth my house was present on some very small, specific point. Another activity I like to do is snapchat my friends from far away and gradually zoom in on their face. At first, you see a person’s face become larger and more recognizable. And then past that, the human face expands and degenerates into a shaded blob of skin color. The person is unrecognizable at this point.


Past and inside the human, there are planets.

In high school biology class, we learned about the organelles of a cell. I would imagine them to be like a metropolitan city, with various organelle-buildings doing particular things. The nucleus would be city hall, the vacuoles would be the garbage dumps, and so on. Of course, the inner parts of a cell are not living beings that think and make decisions like humans in a city. They are just materials driven my chemical reactions and gradients. None of the sub-parts of our body do any actual “thinking” or “discerning,” yet somehow their summation creates a human being.

Viewing Lens is a music inspired by such thoughts as these.