In 2012 the world celebrates the centenary of John Cage‘s birth and the 60th anniversary of the premiere of the composer’s silent piece 4’33” (“four minutes, thirty-three seconds”).
This composition in three movements without intentional sounds is Cage’s most prominent work today. The exhibition Sounds Like Silence, organized by Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV), shows how artists continue to refer to 4’33”, whether explicitly or by addressing wider issues such as silence and sound ecology.
The exhibition focuses on current artistic and musical references to 4’33”. Sounds Like Silence comprises works by Manon de Boer (NL/BE), John Cage (USA), Martin Creed (UK), Merce Cunningham (USA), Guy Debord (FR), Einstürzende Neubauten (DE), Pierre Huyghe (FR), Yves Klein (FR), Collective Actions (RU), Shigeko Kubota (JP/USA), Christian Marclay (USA), Bruce Nauman (USA), Max Neuhaus (USA), Nam June Paik (KR/DE), People Like Us (Vicki Bennett) (UK), Robert Rauschenberg (USA), Harald Schmidt (DE) & Helge Schneider (DE), Mladen Stilinovic (HR), Gillian Wearing (UK), and many more.
Sounds Like Silence opened the last 24 August (19h) at Dortmunder U, jointly with the exhibition FLUXUS – Art for All! of the Museum Ostwall. Both exhibitions run until 6 January 2013.
Between the opening of the exhibition and the anniversary of the premiere of 4’33”, HMKV run a week-long programme of events with live performances and concerts (a.o. by Dave Allen), artist talks, a panel with the authors of the publication accompanying the exhibition, lectures, film screenings and field trips. The film programme includes documentaries about John Cage and others.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the premiere of the “silent piece” 4’33” the HMKV organised a concert night around works by John Cage on 29 August. The programme started with a live performance of Imaginary Landscapes No. 4 (1951) by 24 musicians, followed by 4’33” in Concert, a programme of pieces by John Cage and original interpretations played by a jazz ensemble with Matthias Mainz, Simon Rummel, Angelika Sheridan, Vincent Royer and Carl Ludwig Hübsch.
The evening concluded with the Williams Mix for magnetic tape (Original Version by John Cage, 1952) and the Williams Mix Extended for eight channel digital audio (2011) by Werner Dafeldecker and Valerio Tricoli.
The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive publication (Sounds Like Silence, ed. by Dieter Daniels and Inke Arns, Leipzig: Spector Books, 2012), which will be available at the venue.
Guests include contributors Jan Thoben (Berlin) and Julia Schröder (Berlin) as well as Jan Wenzel (Leipzig) from Spector Books. Hans-Friedrich Bormann (Nürnberg/Erlangen) will talk about John Cage’s voice, while Max Schneider will focus on acoustic ecology.
From 1 until 31 August, the HMKV presented Dave Allen‘s sound art piece Silent Recording, Hansa Studios Berlin at the Loudspeaker (Lautsprecher) — a dedicated space for sound art on the 4th floor of the Dortmunder U. From 1 until 31 December, Christopher DeLaurenti’s work Favourite Intermissions: Music Before and Between Beethoven–Stravinsky–Holst will be accessible in the same space during regular exhibition opening times.
The exhibition begun in the early morning hours of 24 August with the radio programme Sounds Like Silence on Deutschlandradio Kultur (00:05–1h) curated by Inke Arns and Dieter Daniels. (CD recordings of the programme are available in the exhibition).