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Sunday, 6 November 2005

Silence, sound and subway drawings (part two)



Couldn't resist flicking through John Cage book (not on holiday for another week). Couple of quotes jumped out:
'Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.' (p.3) and 'There is no such thing as silence. Something is always happening that makes a sound.' (p.191)
I found this really interesting as much of the time I work in my studio with some sort of 'background noise' - t.v., radio, music but recently I have been working in silence. It really is fascinating how many small noises you hear when really listening - water gurgling through pipes, floorboards creaking, traffic swooshing along roads in the distance, footsteps - clicking, padding and pattering along roads and floors. There is a real sense of layering of noise - each distinct but also part of a whole. A couple of months ago I did a sound recording of the noise of pencil drawing on paper. I'd crumpled paper partially and had become aware of the different noises the pencil made on the smooth surface of the paper and the crumpled surface - ranging from a smooth, gentle, even rhythm to an almost violent stabbing sound. The noise varied depending on the type of surface e.g. tracing paper, bond paper, tissue paper and the grade of pencil. I'm still not sure whether it is noise or rhythm that interests me - or how this fits in with my main interest in gesture, mark,residue/echo but love this stage when really small thoughts begin to make you aware of huge areas of potential exploration.
Another quote from Cage: 'There are no answers. Then of course, there are answers but the final answer makes the questions seem absurd whereas the questions up until then seem more intelligent than the answers.' (p.177)

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