silence, silence, noise, music, laughter

August 25, 2009


“So far as he is serious, the artist is continually tempted to sever the dialogue he has with an audience. Silence is the furthest extension of that reluctance to communicate, that ambivalence about making contact with the audience which is a leading motif of modern art, with its tireless commitment to the “new” and/or the “esoteric” Silence is the artist’s ultimate other-worldly gesture; by silence, he frees himself from servile bondage to the world, which appears as patron, client, audience, antagonist, arbiter, and distorter of his work.

– Susan Sontag, the aesthetics of silence.


“I say catastrophe is an answer because I believe cliché is a question. We resort to cliché because it’s easier than trying to make up something new. Implicit in it is the question, Don’t we already know what we think about this? Don’t we have a formula we use for this? Can’t I just send a standard greeting card or paste in a snapshot of what it was like rather than trying to come up with an original drawing? During the five months of her trial Joan persistently chose the term voice or a few times counsel or once comfort to describe how God guided her. She did not spontaneously claim that the voices had bodies, faces, names, smell, warmth or mood, nor that they entered the room by the door, nor that when they left she felt bad. Under the inexorable urging of her inquisitors she gradually added all these details. But the storytelling effort was clearly hateful to her and she threw white paint on it wherever she could…”

– Anne Carson, silence in the translation of poetry. (v)


“We are surrounded by seemingly innocuous clichés…whose repetition deadens language…We’ve gotten used to sounds too meaningless to be truly numbing but too common to remain constant irritants; such formulaic phrases are the trash of language, a byproduct of failed thought, an attempt to give the appearance of saying something while generating verbal anonymity.”

– Ann Beattie, ambient sound in fiction. (audio)


– Nina Simone, time in music.



– Me, making a stupid, tired joke.

One Response to “silence, silence, noise, music, laughter”

  1. Bill Says:

    We All
    The Fish
    We May
    The Please

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