Marcel Duchamp secretly spent twenty years assembling a room-size installation in his New York studio. When John Cage, a musical pioneer, friend, and frequent collaborator of Duchamp saw the surreal installation, he was more intrigued with the book-length instruction manual that accompanied it. Detailing the proper way to dismantle and reassemble the piece, the manual was intended to serve a purely functional and pragmatic role. However, Cage was inspired. He invited Duchamp to focus on the sounds produced by the workers who followed his booklet, considering the manual as a musical score, rather than a set of rules.
Although we do not follow an instruction manual, our lives are also filled with the inevitable process of taking things down and putting them back up (relationships, dreams, New Years resolutions…). We’re so familiar with the monotony of beginnings and endings that we lose sight of the moment in between, a moment that could be filled with music.