Interview with John Cage, by Gyorgy Kepes

From the Seminar on Urban Form, 1954, MIT Kevin Lynch archives:

“Kepes: If you could articulate the existing city sound patterns, what would you do, what would be your needs to be satisfied? With purposeful organization of city sounds, we could enrich the experience of the city.

Cage: My feeling is that this is already the case.

Kepes: Ordered pattern, not a fixed, fully controlled or rigid one, but one partially defined, such as the 12 o’clock bell, in contract to the chaotic flow of the random sounds, could help to structure our responses.

Cage: Regularized events, such as the 12 o’clock bell, form a rhythmic situation, for the bells never completely coincide.
If they were really controlled, they would not do what they actually do, that is to produce and overlapping situation. With magnetic tape, many have considered the possibilities of controlling sounds completely. The results have proved to the contrary. In Cologne they have created synthetic sounds to produce harmonious controlled sound, but the material resists control. Now they are using the card method, on the plan of a Cybernetics machine. I think it would be better to give up the idea of control and merely enjoy the absence of control.”

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