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Inside Pandora’s Box

Television – together with the computer – is one of the most powerful and protean man-made communications devices on earth. Whether we like it or not, it modulates both our inner and outer lives. It reflects – or makes claims upon – all of human experience, from the most frivolous to the deepest of experiences. That is what makes it so difficult to get a grasp on.

Inside Pandora’s Box was conceived as a ”movie for your ears,” like watching tv with your eyes closed. Accordingly, it is composed of a network of loosely-related scenarios that with a bittersweet double-edged irony paints a sound-portrait of the television medium.

The title refers, of course, to the myth of Pandora, the most beautiful woman in the world, who opens a box placed in her trust releasing all the plagues and suffering in the world. The television set serves as a surrogate ”box.” Hope remains in there somewhere.

The script embraces a full range of subjects including false commercials, TV series, jokes, etc. Sports and specific news have been omitted. The script may be viewed as a collection of shards excavated from the TV medium. Not unlike a media archaeologist, I have tried to re-construct a meaningful continuity although in a humorous and deliberately entertaining manner. There is, however, a message which is based on the Buddhist analysis of the human condition, namely that desire and ignorance are the twin causes of all suffering.

Formally, Inside Pandora’s Box is an attempt to apply film/video editing concepts to the structure of music. Various scenarios are ”set” complete with music, dialog and effects. These are woven together in a continuous associative stream to create a pseudo-media reality. The music and the text comprise a double network of meaning; text and music mutually qualify and nuance each other.

Inside Pandora’s Box straddles the fence between ”serious” electroacoustic music and popular music, especially TV music. While the production surface and the musical styles to which I refer appear superficially glib, the deeper implications of the subject matter are often serious indeed.