The relation between Sound and Silence

In an interview in 1966, John Cage said: “I realized that a real separation between sound and silence doesn’t exist, but only between the intention to listen and to not do that.”3 In his revolutionary score 4’33’’(Four Minutes and Thirty Seconds), the music is completely absent.Cage assumed that such an absence didn’t really mean the absence of sounds. He invited the audience to listen to the world – the noise in the auditorium, the hum of the city, the wind, the rain. “I decide that what I listen to is music”, said Cage, bringing into his work the “negative”; what was traditionally considered to be the absence of music became part of it thanks to the awareness of this absence.

This aesthetic revolution overcame the opposition between music and silence, demonstrating how the background could be a product of our own culture.About twenty years later James Turrell started working on a theme that he would explore throughout his career, the relationship between artificial light and natural light. He didn’t focus on lighting fixtures or objects illuminated by light; instead, he worked with light itself, light and its antithesis, darkness.

See MD Demo