SAL/on air is a literary podcast featuring the best author talks from over thirty years of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ programming.
Richard Powers’ characters are often both artists and scientists—disciplines he sees as intertwined. In a delicious moment in this March 2008 reading, he describes the commonality between art and science as a state of “bewilderment,” which happens to be the title of his new book, released thirteen years later in September 2021.
A story that draws on Powers’ knowledge of music and technology, “Modulation” centers on the global dissemination of a musical computer virus. The synchronized activation of the virus unites four strangers around the globe: a former music pirate, a journalist, an ethnomusicologist, and a DJ.
Powers’ work embodies this spirit of marveling and wondering in a most bewildering way. His writing describes in Technicolor detail our most ephemeral human experiences, yet his precision doesn’t define; instead, it expands our awe and pondering long after his tales are over.