The Night Watch (Detail) - Rembrandt, 1642
“Virginia Woolf, in her diaries, once said that she didn’t know how anyone could read without a pencil in his hands; Anna Maria Johnson doesn’t just use a pencil, she uses lines, paint, a self-created concordance and icons to mark the patterns when she is reading.”
Fresco Painted by Bo Beskow of Sweden for the UN Meditation Room that opened in the winter of 1957. The space is dedicated to silence, where people can withdraw into themselves, regardless of their faith, creed or religion.
It was planned by Dag Hammarskjöld (UN Secretary-General 1953-61), who personally supervised its creation; he believed that the UN “should have one room dedicated to silence in the outward sense and stillness in the inner sense.”
From “Searching for Silence: John Cage’s art of noise,” by Alex Ross
Did Cage love noise? Or did he merely make peace with it? Like many creative spirits, he was sensitive to intrusions of sound; years later, when he was living in the West Village, next door to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, he asked Lennon to stop using wall-mounted speakers. But he trained himself to find noise interesting rather than distracting. Once, in a radio discussion with Cage, Feldman complained about being subjected to the buzzing of radios at the beach. Never one to miss a good setup, Cage responded that in such a situation he’d say, “Well, they’re just playing my piece.” He also disliked Muzak, and in 1948 spoke of trying to sell a silent work to the Muzak company. Gann points out that in May, 1952, three months before “4’33”,” the Supreme Court took up a Muzak-related case, ruling against complainants who hoped to have piped-in music banned from public transport. There was no escaping the prosperous racket of postwar America. In a way, “4’33” ” is a tombstone for silence. Silverman, in “Begin Again,” rightly emphasizes Cage’s later obsession with Thoreau, who said, “Silence is the universal refuge.”
Emma Kisiel holds a bachelor of fine arts with an emphasis in photography from the University of Colorado Denver. “At Rest” is a photographic series depicting roadkill on American highways and addressing our human fear of confronting death and viewing the dead. Kisiel’s images draw attention to the fact that, while man has a vast impact on animal and natural life, dominant American religions insist that animals do not have a place in Heaven and are, therefore, of little value in our society. To cause the viewer to feel struck by this truth, Kisiel photographs memorials she builds surrounding roadkill at the location at which its life was taken. “At Rest” expresses the sacredness to the bodies of animals accidentally hit by vehicles while crossing the road.