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Sarah Bayley — 4’33”

Posted on September 26, 2012

Sarah Bayley creates an onomatopoeic and typographic rendition of John Cage’s infamous Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds (4’33”).

An onomatopoeic and typographic rendition of John Cage’s infamous Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds (4’33”) and an accompanying print outcome. This project was a response to brief four of the ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers) 2012, completed as part of Communication Design Honours at Swinburne University.
4’33” is a musical score written in 1952 by famous experimental composer John Cage. It was written for any instrument/s for the player not-to-play for the duration of four minutes and thirty-three seconds. 4’33” is one of the most controversial and talked about musical scores in history and is still performed today.
This outcome recounts some of the ambient sounds that were recorded over the space of day and compiled into a video montage. This video montage was then recounted through verse and then compiled into a stop-animation sampling of how the full 4’33” would play out. A typeface was designed to maintain the legibility of the letterforms as they fall in and out of the ground; and they were moved and spaced accordingly to reinforce the sound and meaning of the words.
The choice of white acrylic letterforms on a white background was to emphasise the fact that these are background noises; sounds that we pay little thought to. This decision was also a nod towards Cage and his friend and colleague Robert Rauschenberg who inspired the idea for the original 4’33”. Rauschenberg had created a series of white paintings that were just white paint, painted on white canvases.

Sarah Bayley is finishing her Honours year in Communication Design at Swinburne University of Technology.


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