Tractatus : Reading from Wittgenstein
Tractatus ( Reading from Wittgenstein )

world : 01
outside : 02
pictures : 03
language : 04
thought : 05
questions : 06
riddle : 07
objects : 08
facts : 09
processes : 10
credo : 11
revocation : 12
All German texts in "Tractatus: Reading from Wittgenstein" come from "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" by Ludwig Wittgenstein. Additional textual elements (tracks 5, 11, 12) come from John Cage's "Empty Words, Part III" lecture. Fragments of archival recordings from September 11, 2001 have been used in track 11.

All instruments and voices by the Labor Camp Orchestra except:

German voice by Erik Brandt (tracks 1-11)
Additional voices by Pamela Johnson (tracks 5, 11, 12)
Soprano Lori Lewis (track 5)
Violin and viola by Ava Szychalski (track 6)

Written, performed and produced by the Labor Camp Orchestra.

"Tractatus: Reading from Wittgenstein" by Labor Camp Orchestra is a series of 12 sonic meditations on the range of issues explicated in Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus". As Wittgenstein wrestles with the boundaries of language and the world, the musical structures appear to resist or respond to intellectual pressure of these ideas. Although each section addresses particular portion of the original text, certain formal and conceptual gestures persist throughout the entire cycle. For instance percussive treatments drift into organic structures bordering on chaos, yet at times slip into coherent patterns, offering a glimmer of organization, even rigidity. Such oscillation between control and surrender, between internal and external world are also echoed in juxtapositions of natural, found sounds and synthetic material conjured up by technology. A wide range of environmental recordings have been used in the "Tractatus" cycle. All sounds have been either constructed or collected by the Labor Camp Orchestra on various locations in the United States between 2010 and 2011. Sounds of fields, brooks and forests are juxtaposed with museums, prisons and churches. Impromptu vocalizations of strangers on the streets, thunder storms, vintage amusement park games, parades, fire trucks, and sounds of breaking household furniture are woven throughout the cycle surveying public and private worlds.

Commenting on Shostakovich's Eight Symphony, Ilya Ehrenburg said that "Music has a great advantage; without mentioning anything, it can say everything." Probing the elusive boundary between recognizable and abstract, Labor Camp Orchestra invites us to contemplate the limits of our knowing. The inextinguishable cycles of experience and expression, intrinsic to mechanics of sound and idea of music in general, form a kind of aural Uroborus, which like the human mind eternally returns to question and to re-create itself. The relationship between the world, what we see of it, and our ability (or ultimate inability) to accurately describe it, is one of the fundamental philosophies of the Labor Camp. We are working all the time, trying to make sense of the world.

Lyrics Translations

Track : 01 : world

5.6 The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
5.61 [..] We cannot think what we cannot think; so what we cannot think we cannot say either.
5.62 This remark provides the key to the problem, how much truth there is in solipsism. For what the solipsist means is quite correct; only it cannot be said, but makes itself manifest. The world is my world: this is manifest in the fact that the limits of language (of that language which alone I understand) mean the limits of my world.
5.621 The world and life are one.
5.63 I am my world. (The microcosm.)
5.631 There is no such thing as the subject that thinks or entertains ideas. If I wrote a book called The World as l found it, I should have to include a report on my body, and should have to say which parts were subordinate to my will, and which were not, etc., this being a method of isolating the subject, or rather of showing that in an important sense there is no subject; for it alone could not be mentioned in that book.
5.632 The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of the world.
5.633 Where in the world is a metaphysical subject to be found? You will say that this is exactly like the case of the eye and the visual field. But really you do not see the eye. And nothing in the visual field allows you to infer that it is seen by an eye.

Track : 02 : outside

6.373 The world is independent of my will.
6.374 Even if all that we wish for were to happen, still this would only be a favour granted by fate, so to speak: for there is no logical connexion between the will and the world, which would guarantee it, and the supposed physical connexion itself is surely not something that we could will.
6.41 The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is, and everything happens as it does happen: in it no value exists--and if it did exist, it would have no value. If there is any value that does have value, it must lie outside the whole sphere of what happens and is the case. For all that happens and is the case is accidental. What makes it non-accidental cannot lie within the world, since if it did it would itself be accidental. It must lie outside the world.
6.43 If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can alter only the limits of the world, not the facts--not what can be expressed by means of language. In short the effect must be that it becomes an altogether different world. It must, so to speak, wax and wane as a whole. The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.

Track : 03 : pictures

2.1 We picture facts to ourselves.
2.12 A picture is a model of reality.
2.14 What constitutes a picture is that its elements are related to one another in a determinate way.
2.141 A picture is a fact.
2.1511 That is how a picture is attached to reality; it reaches right out to it.
2.063 The sum-total of reality is the world.

Track : 04 : language

4. A thought is a proposition with a sense.
4.001 The totality of propositions is language.
4.002 Man possesses the ability to construct languages capable of expressing every sense, without having any idea how each word has meaning or what its meaning is--just as people speak without knowing how the individual sounds are produced. Everyday language is a part of the human organism and is no less complicated than it. It is not humanly possible to gather immediately from it what the logic of language is.
Language disguises thought. So much so, that from the outward form of the clothing it is impossible to infer the form of the thought beneath it, because the outward form of the clothing is not designed to reveal the form of the body, but for entirely different purposes. The tacit conventions on which the understanding of everyday language depends are enormously complicated.
4.014 A gramophone record, the musical idea, the written notes, and the sound-waves, all stand to one another in the same internal relation of depicting that holds between language and the world. They are all constructed according to a common logical pattern. (Like the two youths in the fairy-tale, their two horses, and their lilies. They are all in a certain sense one.)
4.0141 There is a general rule by means of which the musician can obtain the symphony from the score, and which makes it possible to derive the symphony from the groove on the gramophone record, and, using the first rule, to derive the score again. That is what constitutes the inner similarity between these things which seem to be constructed in such entirely different ways. And that rule is the law of projection which projects the symphony into the language of musical notation. It is the rule for translating this language into the language of gramophone records.

Track : 05 : thought

3. A logical picture of facts is a thought.
3.01 The totality of true thoughts is a picture of the world.
3.03 Thought can never be of anything illogical, since, if it were, we should have to think illogically.
3.031 [...] The truth is that we could not say what an 'illogical' world would look like.
4.113 Philosophy sets limits to the much disputed sphere of natural science.
4.114 It must set limits to what can be thought; and, in doing so, to what cannot be thought. It must set limits to what cannot be thought by working outwards through what can be thought.
4.115 It will signify what cannot be said, by presenting clearly what can be said.
4.116 Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly. Everything that can be put into words can be put clearly.
4.1212 What can be shown, cannot be said.

Track : 06 : questions

6.4321 The facts all contribute only to setting the problem, not to its solution.
6.44 It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists.
6.45 To view the world sub specie aeterni is to view it as a whole--a limited whole. Feeling the world as a limited whole--it is this that is mystical.
6.5 When the answer cannot be put into words, neither can the question be put into words. The riddle does not exist. If a question can be framed at all, it is also possible to answer it.
6.52 We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer.
6.521 The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem. (Is not this the reason why those who have found after a long period of doubt that the sense of life became clear to them have then been unable to say what constituted that sense?)
6.522 There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.
7. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

Track : 07 : riddle

6.431 So too at death the world does not alter, but comes to an end.
6.4311 Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in just the way in which our visual field has no limits.
6.4312 Not only is there no guarantee of the temporal immortality of the human soul, that is to say of its eternal survival after death; but, in any case, this assumption completely fails to accomplish the purpose for which it has always been intended. Or is some riddle solved by my surviving for ever? Is not this eternal life itself as much of a riddle as our present life? The solution of the riddle of life in space and time lies outside space and time. (It is certainly not the solution of any problems of natural science that is required.)
6.432 How things are in the world is a matter of complete indifference for what is higher. God does not reveal himself in the world.

Track : 08 : objects

2.024 The substance is what subsists independently of what is the case.
2.025 It is form and content.
2.026 There must be objects, if the world is to have unalterable form.
2.0271 Objects are what is unalterable and subsistent; their configuration is what is changing and unstable.
2.0272 The configuration of objects produces states of affairs.
2.03 In a state of affairs objects fit into one another like the links of a chain.
2.032 The determinate way in which objects are connected in a state of affairs is the structure of the state of affairs.
2.033 Form is the possibility of structure.
2.034 The structure of a fact consists of the structures of states of affairs.
2.04 The totality of existing states of affairs is the world.

Track : 09 : facts

1. The world is all that is the case.
1.2 The world divides into facts.
1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things.
2.013 Each thing is, as it were, in a space of possible states of affairs. This space I can imagine empty, but I cannot imagine the thing without the space.

Track : 10 : processes

6.3611 We cannot compare a process with 'the passage of time'--there is no such thing--but only with another process (such as the working of a chronometer). Hence we can describe the lapse of time only by relying on some other process. Something exactly analogous applies to space: e.g. when people say that neither of two events (which exclude one another) can occur, because there is nothing to cause the one to occur rather than the other, it is really a matter of our being unable to describe one of the two events unless there is some sort of asymmetry to be found. And if such an asymmetry is to be found, we can regard it as the cause of the occurrence of the one and the non-occurrence of the other.
6.362 What can be described can happen too: and what the law of causality is meant to exclude cannot even be described.

Track : 11 : credo

What can be said at all can be said clearly,
and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.

Track : 12 : revocation

Selections from "Empty Words".

Additional materials

Apologia Installation.
Apologia Records

Labor Camp Tractatus Spade

Labor Camp Orchestra © 2011