Seinfeld called itself a “show about nothing.” The following video (via Lauren Rabaino) captures this cleverly by compiling moments of “nothing.”
As I watched, the stark “nothingess” compressed together in such a literal way reminded me of John Cage‘s concept of “silence.”
The experimental composer’s piece 4’33” is generally referred to as his “silent” piece. But, like Seinfeld, it is — despite its label — not silent at all.
For Cage, it’s about the shifting the focus from the performer to the audience and sounds of the environment in which the piece is performed.
With the general Seinfeld-Cage connection in mind, I thought:
Someone should analyze Seinfeld as a “show about nothing” through the lens of John Cage’s “Silence.” Title: “There can never be nothing.”
As a longtime Seinfeld fan and someone who visited that Cage exhibit earlier this year, I never made the connection until sparked by that video.
Searching further, I found the connection to be even stronger when I stumbled across Cage’s 1949 “Lectures on Nothing:”
I have nothing to say and I am saying it
Let me know if you’ve seen anything about this connection before. I’d be very interested to read more or hear your thoughts.
P.S. Speaking of Cage, who used indeterminacy (a.k.a. chance operations) in his music, I’m also very interested to know if anyone has written about chance in Mallarmé’s poem Un coup de des as it relates to Forrest Gump:
Someone should write a piece on “Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates…” and “A throw of a the dice will never abolish chance.”
It’s been a while since I first saw this video comparing the most recognizable part of the Inception soundtrack with Édith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.” But this time I did a quick search after watching and found an L.A. Times post with the following quote (emphasis in bold is mine):
“If you were to see this movie a second time,” Zimmer said, “you realize the last note you hear in the movie is the first note in the movie. It’s a Möbius band. But the next thing you hear over the logos is actually telling a story. You realize that the elements that we’ve extracted from the Piaf song are the way you get from one dream level to the next. When the movie starts, some action has already happened.”
For the work that led to his 1952 paper, Turing wanted to understand the underlying mechanism that produces natural patterns. He proposed that patterns such as spots form as a result of the interactions between two chemicals that spread throughout a system much like gas atoms in a box do, with one crucial difference. Instead of diffusing evenly like a gas, the chemicals, which Turing called “morphogens,” diffuse at different rates. One serves as an activator to express a unique characteristic, like a tiger’s stripe, and the other acts as an inhibitor, kicking in periodically to shut down the activator’s expression.
One-dimensional, two-state cellular automata produce a list of bits at discrete time steps, whose output, depending on the parameters, may be trivial or very complex. Surprisingly, this simple mechanism can be Turing complete — that is, capable of calculating anything that any computer can calculate.
The knitting part reminded me of this photo I took of one of my mom’s crocheting pattern books:
Some random thought about music theory and structure (namely, loops) floating around my mind led to an interesting discussion of music and code this weekend. The discussion was topped off quite nicely by a comment Zed Shaw wrote on Reddit about why being a musician can make you a good programmer.