Sounds Like Silence. John Cage – 4’33″ – Silence Today

Sounds-Like-Silence

edited by Dieter Daniels, Inke Arns, Spector Books, ISBN: 9783940064417, 296 pages, 2012, German, English

There have been countless celebrations of the centennial of John Cage’s birth around the world, involving different generations fascinated by one of the few truly visionary artists. Needless to say, “silence”, probably the most revolutionary element in Cage’s extensive work, has been at the centre of the majority of thoseevents, which transformed into a sort of global happening (probably something Cage would have been happy about). The Hartware MedienKunstVerein in Dortmund focused a whole series of events entitled “Sounds Like Silence”, structuring them into a consistent program. It started with a radio show organized by the two curators (Arns and Daniels), which was followed by performances, roundtables, excursions, lectures and a proper exhibition. The radio show has become a Gruenrekorder CD release and an oversized book has been released, becoming one of the best outcomes of the celebrations. It’s a terrific research project involving plenty of original documents, multiple perspectives, creative derivatives, interpretations and very inspired original works, plus a final section cataloguing the exhibition. It literally “fills the silence”, which forms part of the sophisticated ambiguity of the title. The huge “collateral” material included in the book defines Cage’s work thoroughly, but curiously applies the very same spirit of Cage himself, distracting from what is under the spotlight (his person and his core work) and starting to focus attention on what is happening now, in a recursive and elegantly informed style.

 

Sounds Like Silence. John Cage – 4’33″ – Silence Today