“Silence is a space for something to happen.”
You know, I don’t think I’ve actually ever watched John Cage perform “4:33.” Even a minute and a half is enough to chill me out and clean my ears. (This clip is from the video artist Nam June Paik’s A Tribute to John Cage.)
“The ear, unlike some other sense organs, is exposed and vulnerable,” writes Murray Schafer in Ear Cleaning: Notes on an Experimental Music Course. “The eye can be closed at will; the ear is always open.” In the chapter, “Silence,” Murray writes, “Silence is a pocket of possibility.”
Man likes to make sounds and to surround himself with sounds. Silence is the outcome of the rejection of human personality. Man fears the absence of sound as he fears the absence of life. There is nothing so sublime or stunning in music as silence.
The ultimate silence is death.
Silence feels so good to me these days it’s like what the French call, “la petite mort,” or “little death.” Relief. Release. A clearing out. An emptying.
“An artist has to understand silence,” says Marina Abramovic. “An artist has to create space for silence to enter his work. Silence is like an island, in the middle of a terrible ocean.”
“Now I will do nothing but listen,” wrote Walt Whitman, “To accrue what I hear…”
how it started / how it's going pic.twitter.com/grluOXjJRX
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) January 28, 2021
Filed under: silence