4’33” September 15, 2013

IMG_5375

September 15, 2013

Location: Sooke Potholes Park, Sooke, BC.

Set up: Music Stand on cliff above potholes, and Sooke River, facing NorthWest

Score: hand drawn from the Peters Edition, 3 sections Tacet: 33″, 2’40”, 1’20”, Copied from digitized image of Cage’s handwritten score from 1960

Performers: Tina Pearson and Judith Price

Conditions: Cool, damp, slight breeze, brisk, fresh.

Audience: Brenda Patays and Grace Salez

Photos: Tina Pearson and Brenda Patays

Recording: slight breeze (used large wind screen made by Ido Gavin)

Perceptions:

The group Open Actions had just finished a monthly performance at this site. My performance was called Listening with Water. I had been immersed in the water of the Sooke River, listening, moving with listening, listening to the sounds of the water from above it, and with my head in it, listening to the others’ sounds in and around the river, and responding to what I heard, letting what I heard determine my movement and listening focus. It was a profound experience being moved by the water in this way, and being moved by listening to sink into the cold of the water, bit by bit, to move along the rocks, to let listening pull my ears into the water, continuously listening. Over the hour, I sunk deeper and deeper into an observing and surrendering state, curious about the expanding frigidity of the water gradually and surely spreading into my flesh and bones, but not resisting it. Curious about the rocks, the slipperiness, the branches of the trees, the flow of the water over my body. The sound was new, alive with presence –  the feeling of being so immersed in the water and its sounds became like an acutely aware whole body kind of listening.

Performing 4’33” after this intense experience and in the company of my performance art colleagues, the listening, I believe with all of us, was vast and open. Judith Price, Brenda Patays and Grace Salez gave the integrity and depth of their practice to this listening too, a coda on our Open Action for this month.

aIMG_5372    aIMG_5361

Advertisements

4’33” September 8, 2013

IMG_5336

September 8, 2013

Location: Elk Lake Park, off trail near Saanich Parks yard

Set up: Score clipped to moss encrusted birch, just off the trail, facing Southwest.

Score: hand drawn from the Peters Edition, 3 sections Tacet: 33″, 2’40”, 1’20”, Copied from digitized image of Cage’s handwritten score from 1960

Conditions: Hot, dry, still. Crispness, sharpness in the air.

Audience: on distant trails, a few hikers with their dogs and kids.

Preparatory Readings: Continuing reflections on James Turrell’s work with light.

http://www.npr.org/2013/09/07/219367766/james-turrell-experiments-with-the-thingness-of-light-itself

“I want to look at light, rather than have light illuminate another thing,” says artist James Turrell. “I’m interested in the thingness of light itself, so that light is the revelation.” NPR interview

Perceptions:

Reflecting on my listening these past months —

Performing listening, listening and not listening, being aware of listening, listening to the listening, a listening that hears itself.

Walking along the pathway in this forest park, a long walk, sensing for the right location. Sun and shadow through the trees. Listening to the sounds of walking, the distant traffic, to the near birds, to my breathing, to periodic air traffic – small planes and helicopters, crow, seagull, dogs, kids. Seeing in the sunlight a kind of glow in the forest – a shifting of light and shadow, illumination of detail. Spider webs built across smaller trails, among the branches, all between 2 and 5 feet up from the ground. Preparing for the winter.

As I walked, my sense of listening near and far, past and present, deepened, became more detailed. That old exercise that I do often, and use in workshops, of focusing the listening on the furthest sound, then the nearest, etc. suddenly became … multidimensional. If I focus on the furthest sound … can I also hear the sounds of the spider web that I passed ten minutes ago and the small flies brushing against each other on this branch here now … can all sounds be heard from here to the furthest sound, the tiniest microscopic sounds, the sound under the surface of the trail, the roots of the trees carrying their fluids, sharing chlorophyll with one another, the mushrooms pushing bits of soil and moss aside in their growing.

Can I hear all of this?

The sounds I imagine, the sounds I heard yesterday, the sounds of my dreaming. All of it, always here, all the time. I can decide to focus on any of it at any time.

Back to hear and now, in this body and this breath … walking focusing on what I am hearing right now and only being in that one focused place in each microscopic moment. Quantal sound. Scaling a moment to a pinpoint in time and place, expanding it.

During the performance of today’s edition of 4’33”, these reflections honed and sharpened my listening. My awareness that there is so much, utterly so much sound, made my listening much more acute and nuanced. Here and now is much less fuzzy. And it is both smaller and larger at the same time.

IMG_5345     IMG_5349

4’33” September 1, 2013

IMG_5310

September 1, 2013

Location: Elk Lake Park, Beaver Lake, NorthWest Pond, Victoria, BC.

Score: hand drawn from the Peters Edition, 3 sections Tacet: 33″, 2’40”, 1’20”, Copied from digitized image of Cage’s handwritten score from 1960

Conditions: Hot, dry, still, slight changing breeze.

Audience: None.

Preparatory Readings: James Turrell interviews on National Public Radio. This quote:

“… I want to look at light, rather than have light illuminate another thing,” he explains. “I’m interested in the thingness of light itself, so that light is, is the revelation.”

Perceptions: My perceptions these past weeks have been influenced by my memory of the James Turrell Aten Reign exhibition at the Guggenheim in July. I recognize that I am not completely open to any sonic experience when I am seeking locations for the weekly 4’33”. Often, I seek a sublime place, a hi-fidelity place, where the air is charged with microscopic nuance of sonic detail. Where the complex yet interrelated shifts in sound are not dumbed down by the drone of air and ground traffic or machine. Since spending those hours with Aten Reign I am also recognizing the influence of light and colour on my listening. I become more still, more utterly still, seeking to sense more and more tracings of vibration whether I perceive them as sound or light or other. The time limit of 4 minutes and thirty three seconds hones my focus. This environment is charged with the activity of wasps, bees, flies, dragon flies and other insects flying close to the ground, crawling along the grasses and branches, skimming along the surface of the water. I place the audio recorder under some shrubbery close to the water’s edge, hoping for some collision sound that I will not hear until I listen to the recording.

IMG_5326    IMG_5315

IMG_5320    IMG_5329

4’33” August 25, 2013

IMG_5273

August 25, 2013

Location: Mount Tolmie East parking lot, Victoria, BC

Set up: Score clipped to overhanging Garry Oak branch, edge of parking lot, facing East.

Score: hand drawn from the Peters Edition, 3 sections Tacet: 33″, 2’40”, 1’20”, Copied from digitized image of Cage’s handwritten score from 1960

Conditions: Very hot, dry, sunny, moderate wind.

Audience: Other people parked in the lot, people and dogs walking to and from trails.

Perceptions: Humidity and listening. The extreme dryness changes how sound travels, this is very noticeable. A sense of simultaneous near and far. A crispness, sharpness, pending. These short moments of focused listening each week have become simultaneously easier to accomplish and more intense. Listening as a holistic state of being that is part of the whole. Listening deeply with attention to detail and nuance, in these small windows of time. What revelatory curtains drift open today, last time, next time?

IMG_5284 IMG_5280 IMG_5285

4’33” August 18, 2013

IMG_5218

August 18, 2013

Location: Mini Golf Course, Cordova Bay, Victoria

Set up: Score clipped to low-hanging cedar branches near North facing course fence.

Score: hand drawn from the Peters Edition, 3 sections Tacet: 33″, 2’40”, 1’20”, Copied from digitized image of Cage’s handwritten score from 1960

Conditions: Cool, cloudy, slight breeze.

Audience: golfers, hikers, shoppers.

Perceptions:

Listening here, can I listen like the golfers – the parents, then the children. Can I listen inside the golf ball. Can I listen like the birds in these trees, the spiders spinning in this tangle of branches, leaves, old cedar boughs. Can I listen like the float planes overhead, the people in them. Listen like the dog coming along the trail, leashed to its master. Can I listen like the dog’s master. Who am I listening? What am I not listening? Am I trailing all the listenings before now into this listening. Feet on ground, breathing in and out. Moist air.

IMG_5211    IMG_5213

 

4’33” August 11, 2013

IMG_5179

August 11, 2013

Location: Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, Ontario

Set up: Score clipped to willow tree, facing East South East toward CN Tower. Standing on grass.

Score: hand drawn from the Peters Edition, 3 sections Tacet: 33″, 2’40”, 1’20”, Copied from digitized image of Cage’s handwritten score from 1960

Conditions: very hot and humid, slight breeze, people in the park doing yoga, having picnics, lounging, walking, playing with kids and dogs, a group of percussionists in a circle with others dancing. afternoon in the city.

Audience: people in the park.

Perceptions: Listening in the moment and what defines the moment. The immediate settling and awareness of breath, stillness, the quick focus of acute awareness. Awareness of present, of past of multiplicity of experience and perspective. What is recalled, imagined, how that filters awareness, too, just as the state of physical reality does. Sore foot, remembered event, planned documentation, the mind of the witness. How are others listening? Sounds, like smells, introducing themselves, leading to perceptions of depth, thickness, microscopic detail, thick bands of frequencies, overlapping meters weaving textures through electric hum, the steady earthy beat of drums, the hearing of birds, thinking of their tuning and does it veer their calls away from the streetcar screech. Feet on ground, eyes soft focus, spine vertical, antenna.

IMG_5194   IMG_5186

4’33” August 4, 2013

covershotcrop

August 4, 2013

Location: A forest grove in a valley on Funny Farm, during Electric Eclectic Festival, Meaford Ontario

Set up: Score clipped to pine tree branch, facing West North West

Score: hand drawn from the Peters Edition, 3 sections Tacet: 33″, 2’40”, 1’20”, Copied from digitized image of Cage’s handwritten score from 1960

Performers: Gayle Young and Tina Pearson

Instruments: Bowed Tibetan bell and Mexican ocarina

Conditions: Warm, still, no wind in this shallow valley.

Audience: A couple of festival goers walking up the trail.

Perceptions: This performance was done during a weekend of feisty loud avant-garde live musics and DJ sets, and in the midst of two versions of measure for a mayfly, a listening sounding walk I brought to the Festival. Gayle and I had spent two days preceding this listening and working in the forest to find the best sonic playground for that piece, finding in the end one compelling and sublime listening spot near a large boulder under a pine tree. The two versions of measure for a mayfly ended in this place, and it seemed a fitting place, and ending to our weekend, to perform 4’33” there.

IMG_5008     IMG_5002

IMG_5016     IMG_5000

Gayle Young