In 1952, American experimental composer John Cale composed a three-movement composition, Four minutes, thirty-three seconds, or Four thirty-three. Written for any instrument or combination of instruments, the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements. The piece purports to consist of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, although it is commonly perceived as "four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence". The title refers to the total length in minutes and seconds of a given performance, 4′33″ being the total length of the first public performance, and a standard length of 'canned music.' Cage intended to sell the composition to the Musak Company.
A reflection of the influence of Zen Buddhism on Cage, the piece challenged audiences to reconsider the function of art and the borders between traditional art disciplines and between artistic practice and philosophy.
For the 2014 Spotlight on the Arts Festival, the Arts Council is riffing on this idea in a competition aimed at UGA graduate students:
The UGA Arts Council is seeking graduate students to participate in the inaugural “4 minutes, 33 seconds: Spotlight on Scholarship” competition. The event, which will award two prizes of $433 each, will give the campus community insight into the scholarship and research in the arts conducted by University of Georgia graduate students.
For the competition, graduate students have 4 minutes, 33 seconds to describe their research. They can use up to 33 visual aid slides to help explain the topic. The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10 in the Chapel, as part of the Spotlight on the Arts festival.
Points will be awarded based on performance, originality and passion, as well as conciseness, comprehension, engagement and ability to convey the research to a non-specialist audience. Sound and props are permitted.
Two winners will be chosen: one by a panel of faculty within and outside the arts and another chosen as an audience favorite. The winners will receive support for their research in the form of an award of $433 each.
Today is the dealine for entries. Graduate students can apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and CC’ing your department’s Arts Council representative (for a list of Arts Council representatives, see http://arts.uga.edu/about/uga-arts-council-directory/). The email should contain your name, degree objective and a paragraph that clearly, succinctly and compellingly describes your research topic and its significance to a non-specialist audience. A subcommittee of the Arts Council will determine the participants.
Here's Cale's Paris 1919