During the last of this year’s Studio 4 Summer Residencies, Ben McDonnell will take the interplay between sound, silence and structure in John Cage’s 1950 Lecture on Nothing, as his point of departure. Reading groups, talks and workshops will culminate in a collaboration with four musicians, of a performance of a musical composition.

Ben’s practice uses photographic images and sound as a way of re-seeing or re-understanding the built environment, using structures inherent in music and composition as a way of imagining an impermanent, speculative architecture. The residency is supported by the Help Musicians UK Fusion Fund.

A performative reading of Ideas Are One Thing, And What Happens is Another by Ken Hollings will initiate the four week residency. During this residency period, Ben will be working with artist Holly Drewit to run a workshop on sound and image with other artists and musicians based around themes of structure and nothingness. Ben will use these activities to support the composition of a new, context-contingent sound piece that will respond to installations made during the residency as well as the studio space itself. On 5th September this piece will be performed by contemporary music ensemble Gokumi.

Events Programme

Ideas Are One Thing, And What Happens is Another
Victoria Park Bandstand, E9 7DD
Monday 12 August, 2-4pm

As an opening event for his month-long residency, Ben has invited writer Ken Hollings to give a reading of his text, Ideas Are One Thing, And What Happens is Another at Victoria Park Bandstand, followed by a discussion at Chisenhale Studios. Hollings’ text was commissioned in 2012 to be read as part of a performance to celebrate the centenary of John Cage’s birth. Subtitled ‘A Neatly Ordered Sequence of Texts’, its ten parts contain personal memories of the time Hollings spent with Cage working on one of his books, together with thoughts on what constitutes ‘an idea’.

Drawing Sound
Thursday 29 August, 14:00 – 18:00pm

This workshop will look at graphic scores and sensory drawing to consider how sound can be visually documented. It will be an exploration of the senses, a chance to work with a variety of audio input to challenge the way you listen and react to sound. Producing work predominately without visual stimulus (blindfolded), participants will respond to sounds ranging from voice, to music, to soundscapes, to generate some exciting outcomes and discussion. You can reserve your free place for this event here.

The Sound We Inhabit (Final Performance)
Thursday 5 September, 19:30 – 22:00

A performance and installation of the work created during the residency, including a new musical composition written for and contingent upon the space of Studio 4. This will be performed on Korean flute, electric guitar, violin and bass clarinet by contemporary music ensemble Gokumi. You can reserve your free place for this even here.

Image: Extract from John Cage Lecture on Nothing (1950)