Digital Academics

4’33”

4’33”

I had a really interesting time making my own sound poem in the style of 4’33” by John Cage. I had a hard time thinking of a place and time in which I am supposed to be surrounded by silence. The two places I can think of are either at the Marylhurt Library, where I go to work on finals and midterms, or during the time in which my son takes his nap during the day. He is three and a half and nap time is starting to evolve into something entirely different. My 4’33” is a recording of the “silence” that I now experience during Aage’s nap time. You can find this poem by going to the World of 4’33” inside of the app and then look for the only poem in the Clackamas/Gladstone/Milwaukie area.

What I really fell in love with when I was listening to other random poems on this app from around the world were all the little sounds that fill up the silence of a “quiet” space. From the ticking of clocks, to the breathing of the person making the recording. There is always something going on, and a range of sounds to explore. I started finding myself trying to interpret the space that was being recorded in the different locations. I was listening to one from Europe and I think I was hearing the sound of the compressor on the refrigerator coming on and off and the drip of a sink faucet. Through this, I started building the image of a run down kitchen in a small apartment in the city. I even slipped into a day dream imagining the color of the faded wall paper and the smell of cheap eastern european cigarettes that had managed to permanently imprint into the walls and floors even though the new, younger tenant had never smoked a single day of his/her life. It is here, in the ability to day dream and bring my own idea of the space into the work that I started thinking that the recording had an advantage over a live performance. The live performance that we watched last week gave me too much detail and I felt trapped within the confines of the images defined in the video. Here, I only have the sound, and because this creates a wide open area for my mind to explore, I found the experience much more enthralling.

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