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By ; April 9, 2013 at 1:23 PM 


The kid gave himself an exclusive drop. DAMN.

This was my presentation for my avant-garde theatre class. Sorry it got cut off. You can read my justification for the performance below.

Much like Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing,” 4’33” provides insight into the composer’s all encompassing philosophy on music. Despite being commonly perceived as just four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence, the piece really is a composition of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed.

Since its premiere on August 29, 1952, at Woodstock, New York society has changed immensely. To highlight the differences in our society (especially in the sphere of live performance, music, and art) I’ve infused social media into the performance. While the class watches the performance, I’ll be broadcasting a video livestream of the class for them to watch, tweeting about the performance on Twitter.com (#threethirtyfour), and recording the audio to upload directly to Soundcloud.com and premiere on my music blog BeatsPerMinute.com. All for nothing, almost. Of course I’ll have to cut it short thanks to our generation’s shortened attention span which is partially a bi-product of having all these instantaneous services around us, hence the name 3’34” or #threethirtyfour.

Not only was Cage an appreciator of both sound and the absence of it through silence, but he understood the concept of all art needing a container or medium to exist in. The basic container for music for example, is duration of time and he saw all musical piece to consist of an organized sequence of “time buckets.” In playing nothing Cage (and I) change the frame of the the performance and shift focus from the generation conventions of what we perceive to be music, reevaluating its role in time and space. Instead of on me, the focus is shifted to the class and the ambient sounds that are naturally surrounding us or created by the audience.

Perhaps you or members of the class may feel cheated by having to listen to no composed sounds or art from me, but similarly original audience of Cage’s 4’33” also felt robbed as they had contributed the bulk of the material to the piece.

As Cage states as the central lecture in “Lecture on Nothing,” “I have nothing to say and I’m saying it.” I think that’d make a great slogan for Twitter as well. It’s just a shame that the late composer never got to experience the composition in time and space that is social media.

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