John Cage was an American composer, and a great philosopher exploring the boundaries of silence. As Cage exclaims: ”Every something is an echo of noting” this quote is the core of my concept.
During the performance of 4’33’’ sound is eliminated from the performance, and replaced by the murmur and unease of the crowd. Therefore removing sound from ones life could be compared to deafness. Through using hearing loss as a metaphor for the removal of sound, a concept developed.
Through research I gathered the three main reasons hearing is lost, which leads to deafness. Hearing can be lost through perforation of the eardrum, rupturing of the eardrum and through ageing.
My concept is tri-fold; it examines each element separately. Cage’s compositions consisted of 3 silent movements, and therefore this multi-faceted concept is very well suited. I decided to create 3 booklets. Each booklet is unique in colour, typography and layout to emphasize the different ways an individual loses their hearing.
1. Perforating the eardrum:
A connection was made between a perforated eardrum and perforated paper. A design strategy followed that illustrate the perforation of the eardrum through using typography. The sound of the perforated paper being torn off from the booklet is a metaphor for the sounds heard at the Woodstock, New York concert in 1952.
The perforated paper is also a metaphor for a perforated eardrum. A perforated eardrum is damaged and can lead to hearing loss. Therefore even in the absence of sound, silence is still presence. And silence is a sound. Therefore the name for the booklet relating to the perforation of the eardrum is: Perforating silence.
2. Rupturing the Eardrum
The eardrum can rupture due to many circumstances. Through using bubble wrap as a metaphor of rupturing, I created a bold design that challenges the viewer to rupture the wrapping and enjoy the clean layout. A clear focus was placed on contrast, through size, colour and placing. This emphasizes the difference between the pre-ruptured eardrum and the post-ruptured eardrum. Displaying the difference in appearance.
A connection was made between the sound of an eardrum rupturing and rupturing bubble wrap. Through placing the bubble wrap over the designed layouts, the viewer can engage with the type/layout and rupture the silence self. This can be linked to the show at Woodstock in 1952, where the crowd became part of the performance, becoming the sound for the performance. Here, the viewer does exactly that. Therefore the name for the booklet relating to the rupturing of the eardrum is: Rupturing silence
3. Ageing of the eardrum
Due to the design of the booklet, one can’t visualize the whole idea without the tangible printed booklet.
The third booklet focuses on the ageing of the eardrum, and the complexity of age. Age is a one-way root that can’t be reversed. Therefore I decided to create a layout that ahs this metaphor within it.
The third booklet consists of many layers of paper placed over each other but all varying in sizes. The papers progress from youngest (Lightest colour) at the top to oldest (darkest colour) at the bottom. Each layer can be removed from the booklet, as if it is years that has passed and now forgotten.
The format of the booklet makes it impossible to ‘reverse’ or re-apply the pages just like years that’s past, can’t be regained. Therefore the name for the booklet relating to the ageing of the eardrum is: Ageing of silence.