True Logic of the Future

July 2010, Belconnen Arts Centre

Drawing on the ideas of 19th century economist, meteorologist, logician, musician, programmer, 3D photographer, philosopher and cloud-maker William Stanley Jevons, cross-artform ensemble Boho weave narrative theatre, interactive sequences and a live soundtrack of trombone / electronica into a taut science-fiction thriller exploring the choices we make when we run out of choices.

True Logic of the Future takes place in the near future in a city on the brink of collapse. Farmland drought and coastal floods drive refugees into the city, industry collapses and protestors fill the streets. Social systems are failing and disaster is imminent. Three citizens chosen at random must confront a decision that will transform their society’s future.

As the challenges and threats that face 21st century civilisation loom larger,True Logic asks the question: How much would you sacrifice for the greater good?

In collaboration with Boho, the Powerhouse Museum has constructed unique interactive replicas of Jevons’ 19th century inventions, including an artificial cloud chamber and ‘Logic Piano’ paleocomputer. Using these hands-on devices, the audience direct the performers through a series of interactive games, solving puzzles and guiding the story towards its conclusion.

Download the script by clicking here. Hit us up over email or on Twitter if you’d like to talk about it or stage a production.

…takes ideas that are philosophically dense, and not only presents them in a narrative that’s easy to relate to, but also provides engaging experiences that illustrate their point. … As theatrical experiences go, this is among the most enjoyable I have ever had.’
Australian Stage Online

‘Stoppard meets Beckett in an Orwellian world… True Logic of the Future is compelling, confronting and intellectually intriguing in its construct, imaginative in its staging, and prophetic in its pronouncement of the global and national issues that will determine the future prosperity and security of the nation.’
Lowdown Magazine

‘The team don’t wear their intellectualism on their sleeves. Instead… they have simply produced a fine piece of drama that explores some of our bigger challenges as a society: the loss of anonymity, of power, and control of our environment.’
The Canberra Times

Jevons, William Stanley (1835-1882) – thanks, Wikipedia

English logician and economist who expounded in his book The Theory of Political Economy (1871) the “final” (marginal) utility theory of value. Jevons’ work, along with similar discoveries made by Karl Menger in Vienna (1871) and by Léon Walras in Switzerland (1874), marked the opening of a new period in the history of economic thought.

Jevons broke off his studies of the natural sciences in London in 1854 to work as an assayer in Sydney, where he acquired an interest in political economy. Returning to England in 1859, he published General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy in 1862, outlining the marginal utility theory of value, and A Serious Fall in the Value of Gold in 1863. For Jevons, the utility or value to a consumer of an additional unit of a product is inversely related to the number of units of that product he already owns, at least beyond some critical quantity.

It was for The Coal Question (1865), in which he called attention to the gradual exhaustion of Britain’s coal supplies, that he received public recognition. The most important of his works on logic and scientific methods is his Principles of Science (1874), as well as The Theory of Political Economy (1871) and The State in Relation to Labour (1882).

Jevons is most famous for his work on Economics, particularly marginal utility. However he is considered a polymath, because he worked in such broad fields as logic, chemistry, botany, geology, meteorology and statistics as well as writing on social fields such as music. One of the reasons that we find Jevons to be an interesting character is that he used his mind in a very similar way across all fields in life, applying information and methods learned in one subject, to others in order to gain a unique perspective. Jevons time in Australia is documented in an exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and is how we came acquainted with the subject in the first place.  In addition to his work at the mint, Jevons conducted the first meteorological study in Australia and also took many notes in relation to the flora and fauna. He also was interested in wet plate photography and took some of the earliest remaining photographs of Sydney and the surrounds. During his time in Australia, Jevons wrote extensive letters to his family, and it is from these that we are acquainted with an idea of his personal character rather than just his academic work.

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