February 27, 2016

7.30 am. Arose. 8.30 am. A review of my inbox before a dispatch of sundry domestic chores. 9.00 am. Day 2 of section 8. Moses and the elders of Israel are someway up Mount Sinai, where they receive a vision of God:

And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness (Exodus 24.10).

Ruskin had something to say about this aspect of ‘clearness’, as I recall. (I must look that up.) Its curious that the description focusses on God’s feet and the surface beneath them. Perhaps only those elements were visible; perhaps, the sight of his entire visage would have been unbearable. There are several rationales governing the prohibitions of the second command. The danger of idolatry is only one. The other concerns the nature of God himself. He is, in essence, an invisible spirit. Thus any visual representation of him would falsify his ‘image’. It was not for humankind to imagine him in any shape or form. God’s auto-self-visualisation in this passage is likely to have been a type of symbolic and anthropomorphic picturing. A little later on in the text, Moses has another sight of God or, rather, of an attribute of his person: his glory, which was ‘like a devouring fire’ — bright, fierce, terrifying, threatening and, one assumes, noisy too (Exodus 24.17).

Sapphire and fire. Clarity and ferocity. These would need to be the defining contrasts of my sonification of the two ‘sights’ of God. That sapphire ‘clearness’ would be expressed as a sound like ice on polished steel:


The fire would be realised as an aggressive wall of noise comprising a superimposition of several high-gain versions of the engraving recordings:


1.40 pm. Thereafter, it was all down hill: the visions were followed by a repetition of the initial monologue sequence, to mark the return to law giving and, in addition, a description of the design and accoutrements associated with the Tabernacle and its priesthood (one of the most visual expressions of Judaic religion). The section ends with an extreme, left/right, stereophonic evocation of God’s finger writing the two Tables of the Law (Exodus 31.18). The whole was not finished yet; the loose end will be tied up on Monday.

3.00 pm. Back to the very physical realms of plugs, wires, power supplies, and effectors. I’ve had in mind building a two-tier pedal board for my practice sessions, principally. The upper board, which is antonymous and had already been constructed, would be detachable and piggy-back on the lower one:


5.20 pm. Press ‘Esc’! 7.00 pm. An evening with my wife.