4’33”

thesis

Description

4’33”


The third most dominant sense used when reading, sound, is referenced in the next piece in the body of work: 4’33”. It is a poetic interpretation of John Cage’s experimental music composition by the same name, which consists of the sound of silence divided into three movements. Accordingly, the book has no text and instead represents the length of the composition with one second equaling a one-eighth wide line, this measurement taken from Cage’s original width specification for a second. The lines are laser cut into white felt for silent interaction with the book and arranged to imitate vertical faders in audio equalization.

Cage intended for the audience to listen to the ignored, insignificant sounds present in their immediate environment during the four minute and thirty-three second duration of his piece, the voids in the felt illustrating this by allowing the surroundings to visually encroach into the pages. The lengths of the lines are randomly generated with Processing, indicating the unplanned and erratic nature of everyday, environmental sounds.

Each of the three movements is represented in an individual accordion structure, with the number of lines depicting the movement’s length of time in seconds. The book is housed in a black velvet flip-top box divided into three sections and is constructed to resemble a piano—the instrument the piece was first “played” on—when all the accordions are inside.

Laser cut felt, velvet paper, silk velvet.
 
+ Box — 24.75 x 11.5 x 1.5 inches
+ Accordions — lengths vary