As a freelance artist educator for October Gallery, I plan and deliver workshops for young people in response to current exhibitions.
In November 2018, I worked with a cohort of 15-21 year olds to experiment with sound, using the I Ching as a compositional tool. Using Tian Wei's interest in the I Ching as a starting point, we got to grips with the coin toss method, and then listened to works by John Cage. We explored ideas in Cage's works and later Fluxus pieces, which sought to remove the artists' hand, seeing it as inextricably linked to elitist ideas of art and power dynamics, of artist genius and passive viewer.
Young people then experimented with and chose 64 sounds, made using everyday objects, instruments and art materials, and cast the I Ching to determine the order in which we performed the sounds.
Try it yourself from home!
1. Choose 64 sounds. These can be anything you like - you could use an MPC, a piano, words from a dictionary or random household objects. Note them down!
2. To determine the order in which you should play / perform these sounds, cast the I Ching for each one of your sounds. I've made this I Ching guide to walk you through this process. You'll be left with a number from 1 - 64 for each of your 64 sounds. This is a time consuming process so recruit friends / family / housemates to help.
3. Take your notes of 64 sounds and lay them out so they are in the order of play (as has been determined by the I Ching coin toss method you have just completed).
4. Play your sounds in sequence as quickly as you can. If two have the same number, play simultaneously! You can make your own rules for how the I Ching influences your composition of course - perhaps the I Ching reading denotes the duration in seconds for which you must play each sound rather than the order of sounds to be played.
5. Record yourself doing this and send it to me please! You can tweet it @SoundArtHannah to reach me. Thank the I Ching for helping us to produce this new composition.