Inspired by Palindrome Poems

On the bottom right corner of every Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden page, find a quote from composer John Cage. I modeled the score to feel similar to Chinese landscape paintings that include calligraphy inscriptions. There are 17 Cage quotes + one Occupy Wall Street quote.
Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden, a page from the score
Additionally, the score draws inspiration from huiwen shi (回文诗) palindrome poems. Su Hui (苏蕙), a poet from the 4th century, innovated this type of poetry. Characters can be read vertically, horizontally, forwards, backwards & diagonally. Especially significant is her Xuanji Tu (璇玑图) armillary-sphere map. Using five colors of silk thread, she embroidered 841 Chinese characters into a 29 x 29 grid to create lines of poetry that can be read in any direction for a total of 2,848 poems!

Su Hui's Xuanji Tu
The Cage quotes on the score follow this idea adapted to English. The text is scattered to allow the eye to read non-linearly and savor the puzzle-like relationship between individual words. Cage opens up the space between words in some of his text such as Lecture on Nothing. I decided to open up all the text for the score.

Below are the inscriptions included in Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden. See the score for the scattered text version.
what is it that
is not just beautiful but also
ugly, not just good, but also
evil, not just true, but also
an illusion ?

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

Composition
arises
out
of
asking
questions .

John Cage, David Cope interview (1980)

Every
something
is
an
echo
of
nothing .

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

Not one sound fears
the silence
that ex-tinguishes it.
And no silence exists
that is not pregnant
with sound.

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

Wherever we are,
what we hear is mostly noise.
When we ignore it,
it disturbs us,
when we listen to it,
we find it fascinating.

John Cage, The Future of Music: Credo (1937)

Sounds
should
be honored
rather than
enslaved .

John Cage, Joseph Mazo interview (1983)

Being involved
in the complexities of a nation
at war
and a city in business-as-usual
led me to know
that there is a
difference between
large things
and small things,
between
big organizations
and two people alone
in a room together.

John Cage, A Composer's Confessions (1948)

It is not irritating to be where one is .
It is only irritating
to think one would like
to be somewhere else.

John Cage, Lecture on Nothing (1959)

As I
get
older I
get
interested in
almost anything
that comes to my attention.

John Cage, Charles Atlas documentary (1983)

I deduced that we were in a
Tower of Babel situation
because no one was understanding
anybody else ;
for instance, I wrote
a sad piece
and people hearing it
laughed.

John Cage, Paul Cummings interview (1974)

True discipline is
not learned
in order
to give it up ,
but rather in order
to give oneself up .

John Cage, Richard Kostelanetz interview (1970)

My feeling was that beauty
yet remains in intimate situations;
that it is quite hopeless
to think and act
impressively in
public terms.

John Cage, A Composer's Confessions (1948)

All you need is to be intelligent...
to know how to distinguish those
aspects of existence in which there is,
in an obvious way, good and evil,
and to go in the direction of the good.

John Cage, Daniel Charles interview (1968-1978)

produce a movement
upwards into the air -- the
space, the silence,
the nothing that supports us .

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

affirm this life,
not to bring
order out of chaos
nor to suggest improvements
in creation,
but simply to wake up
to the very life we're living .

John Cage, Four Statements on the Dance (1956)

At every point society acts
to keep you from doing
what you have to do.

John Cage, Moira & William Roth interview (1973)

Everybody has a song
which is no song at all :
it is a process of singing ,
and when you sing ,
you are where you are .

John Cage, Lecture on Nothing (1959)

To the people of the world...
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble;
occupy public space; create a process to address
the problems we face, and generate solutions
accessible to everyone.

Occupy Wall Street (2011)
Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation, music for a changing world. He teaches in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

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