Cage and Michel Serres - the granular space of language

“At the extreme limits of empiricism, meaning is totally plunged into noise, the space of communication is granular, dialogue is condemned to cacophony, the transmission of communication is chronic transformation. Thus, the empirical is strictly essential and accidental noise. . . Consequently, in order for dialogue to be possible one must close one's eyes and cover one's ears to the song and beauty of the sirens”. Michel Serres, Platonic Dialogue

Another prophetic texts, in this regard, is John Cage's "Experimental Music" (1957), reprinted in Silence (1962). As early as 1937, in "The Future of Music: Credo," Cage had declared:

Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating….”

And in Experimental Music, he expanded on this point in a now famous statement:

“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence we cannot. For certain engineering purposes it is desirable to have as silent a situation as possible. Such a room is called an anechoic chamber, its six walls made of special material, a room without echoes. I entered one at Harvard University several years ago and heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation. Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music.”

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