Saturday 21 November 2009

John Cage's 4'33"‏

The orchestral version of John Cage's 4'33"‏

Dear Victor and my other dear friends,

I really find the performance very interesting. Thanks Victor a lot for letting me (us?) know about that.

In response to Siu Ding's painting, I already make some comments about the limit of what you can draw (say or play). On some subject matters, we really have to remain silient even if we want to transgress the limit. Yet I have reservation about being silient if you can really say something. So I find it hard to tolerate any attempt to over-rate the value (or beauty) of silence, and will be happy to say something about the art of silence.

My citation of Wittgenstein, in my reply to Siu Ding, was indeed not accurate. I just "思其意而不思其辭". I will show you the quotations when I am back to my office.

Ho Mun


Dear Ho Mun,

When I watched the video, it made me laugh when I heard the audience coughing in between the "songs" XD It's so typical at a concert but sometimes it can sound so fake that I suspect if that person really has the "need" to cough, or how can those people manages to cough just between the song, if he had to cough. I mean, if I was there at the concert/performance there can be so many interesting/silly observations, thoughts, reflection etc and what John Cage wanted to say becomes not that important. Or what he tried to say can still be communicated through the "silence". Or I'd think if we have something to say, it can be translated in the form of music, painting, sculpture, video, dance etc and why can't "silence" be one of them? (There was a theatre piece quite some years ago with a group of young people in their uniform, sat behind the student's desk and raise one of their hands for 45 minutes without saying a word. Some audience asked them to stop and some shown their impatience. But it was such a strong statement and so much more powerful than words. The audience discussed it and thrown their thoughts, be it positive or negative. That's what matters isn't it? It (the urge to exchange thoughts) may not be the case if the students performed the work "properly" -- the way audience think it should be). And indeed 4'33" is not a piece of silence to me as you're more aware of the surrounding sounds, you expect something, and you may ask yourself "why am I here?" ^_^