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John Cage was one of the most influential composers in modern American music. He raised fundamental questions about the nature of music, and invigorated, provoked, and perplexed audiences throughout his long career. In this lecture from 1987, excerpts of his work are played and discussed. Afterwards, Cage takes questions and shares his thoughts on subjects ranging from the origins of his impulse to make music-"Many composers hear music before they write it, but I write music in order to hear it"-to using chance to create without ego or intention. He asks why we should listen to music instead of just listening to the sounds around us, and answers: "There's no reason."
Teaching isn't just work, it's a lot of fun. Staff physicist Thomas Humphrey quickly figured out that he didn't have the answer to every question in the classroom-and that's the fun of it. TI staff biologist Karen Kalumuck describes how she tries not to answer every question that's asked during a class. Instead, she guides her students to discover ideas for themselves.
A veteran teacher describes her first year of teaching-in Guatamala. She faced many, many challenges, but she stuck it out and has been teaching for 20 years. What is indigo anyway? Staff physicist Paul Doherty tells the story behind ROYGBIV, and how he'd like to change that standard palette.
What coin would just barely cover the full moon? You may be surprised. TI director (and recovering astrophysicist) Linda Shore explains how our brains distort the actual size of the moon. Composer and performer Pauline Oliveros has been a pioneering figure in American music for over four decades. In this intimate talk recorded at the Exploratorium on February 21, 1985, Oliveros discusses her decision to quit teaching and flee to Italy with her accordion, her appreciation of the Grateful Dead's concert sound system, and the perils of the squeezebox. She also takes audience questions and performs "Rattlesnake Mountain" live. Take a little sound quiz with our host, Stephanie Chasteen, and learn something about how our brains locate sounds.
Have you ever really listened to a ball bounce? Exploratorium staff physicist Thomas Humphrey describes the elegant mathematics of a bouncing ball. In June, 2010, the Exploratorium will launch it's newest exhibition, Geometry Playground. Check out this teaser clip and come back for more on June 25th, 2010.