Jem Finer

Read about the artwork

Image Science Museum/Jennie Hills

Jem Finer - Longplayer

  • 1999–2999
  • Sound installation
  • Not currently on display
  • Location: Making the Modern World, ground floor of the Science Museum

Ten Climate Stories is a series of interventions that reveals hidden stories behind some of the Museum’s best-loved exhibits, as well as showcasing artworks from established and emerging artists. It takes a long view of our climate changing world, offering a fresh take on historic inventions and everyday objects, and their impact on the world around us.

Longplayer is a thousand-year-long piece of music composed by Jem Finer that began playing on 31 December 1999.

As the new millennium approached, Finer wondered if it was possible to ‘focus the mind on time as a longer and slower process than the frenetic jump-cut pace of the late 20th century’. The beautiful ambient music, written for singing bowls, has been composed to play continuously, without repetition, until the year 2999 and designed to be adaptable to unforeseeable changes in its technological and social environments.

Such a distant future is hard for us to imagine. It is human nature to concentrate only on the near future – a few years rather than a few hundred years at a time. Longplayer encourages us to slow down, to consider the sort of choices we need to make right now and the effects they will have on the future. Longplayer’s existence is dependent upon future generations looking after it.

About the artist

Jem Finer (born 1955) is an artist and musician working in a diverse range of fields including music‚ film‚ performance‚ sculpture‚ installation and photography.

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