The Mental Museum

John Cage 4’33”

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Post World War II emerged a digital age of cybernetics. The 1950’s unleashed an IBM cyber world that has grown into its own culture; digital culture. Culture of not only bionary code exchange but now real number exchange, imagery exchange, sound exchange and inevitabley, currency exchange.  A decade later, the 1960’s merged this corporate and government rationed digital world into the art world. John Cage,  son of a keynoted engineer helped his father in radar detection which in turn exempted him from the WWII draft.  A lecturer of Digital Art History at Birbeck College, University of London coins the term “cyber feminism” surely to resurrect some notion of superiority, or inferiority (to be completely pc). Nevertheless, this lecturer writes extensively about John Cage and assigns him credit with captaining  the digital world into art. Probably the most renoun of his works, the 4’33” piece of silence, Cage’s performance seems to offer suggestion to the audience, ‘attent yourselves to your auditory surroundings, rather than to visual performance.’  And the success of the piece is to be determined by the individual and where the focus lies.  Are we entertained by the actual intention of the piece? The performance of the piece? Or are we most entertained by the intellectual converse and consumption possibly to be had post the piece? BBC orchestra has also performed 4’33” at Barbican Hall. Play with the numbers enough and one can conclude that 4′ 33″ turns into 6′ 9″ …and one can only wonder what that performance sounds like.


Written by thementalmuseum

July 16, 2009 at 4:01 am

Posted in 1

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