2019; Digital video
In 1952, John Cage composed the piece 4:33 by sitting at his piano for four minutes and thirty-three seconds and not playing a single note. The idea of the performance was for those in the audience to focus on the ambient sounds of the room and be aware of their own bodies: to be present in themselves and the space they were in. The piece was primarily influenced by his interest in Zen Buddhism and his belief that chance was fundamentally connected to a cosmic order. As I have always been similarly interested in the connection of chance to order, I wanted to find a way to re-perform this famous performance, but without using my body.
After purchasing the recording from iTunes for $.99, I decided to have a laser-cutter engrave the audio waveform. I used a contact microphone to record the ambient sounds of the machine at work and shot the video from an angle that was meant to emulate an open piano. By translating the performance into a language the machine could understand, this non-living proxy was able to perform this re-enactment of the famous 4:33 performance.