John Cage: Silence

Cover von John Cages "Silence".
John Cage: Silence | © Sylvie Rohrer

I still remember that I loved sound before I ever took a music lesson.
Hence, we determine the way of our lives through the things we love.

During the first lockdown, the Burgtheater asked us to record a reading at home. My first thought was Lecture on Nothing by John Cage. However, that would have blown up the time frame. The copy can be found in Silence, the book. It also contains the Presentation on Something and 45 for a Speaker. Lecture on Nothing has been enthralling me for years. A composed presentation. Structured time.  

Currently I am working on recording it for the radio. Anyone who will listen – I hope – will experience their own versions given that the direct acoustic environment plays along in all the small and large breaks.  

›For me the basic music experience is the absence of music. Wherever anyone is, if he simply listens to ambient sounds, disorganized as they are, not moving in a linear fashion from one sound to another but coming from the total space, round one, wherever he is, this experience of sound, that is available to everyone, is for me the basic music, which I simply interrupt, when I put sounds into it.‹

It is not easy at all to describe in just a few sentences why this text will not let me go. But its thoughts impact me – my every day life and my work. Sometimes I stop and I am amazed what I hear, see, perceive.

What I know about the method is that sometimes, when I am not working, I’m thinking I know something, but when I work it is perfectly clear that I don’t know anything.  

Sylvie Rohrer, Vienna, 26 April 2021
Conferencière D • I • E