Tom Hannes - X-ED ESSAY

X-ED ESSAY is an audio installation and performance based on Essay, a 1985 work by John Cage. For this work, Cage voiced 18 text fragments from Henry David Thoreau's anarchist manifesto Essay on the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1848). The text fragments varied greatly in length; the shortest no more than 20 lines, the longest 11 pages. The fragments were made equally long and superimposed electronically. The result was an extremely complex and fascinating flow of sound.

Cage expert, performer and Zen Buddhist Tom Hannes created a new version of this work for this exhibition, X-ED ESSAY. He voice recorded the 18 texts himself so that they would all last exactly 20 minutes. The longest texts were read out in an average speaking rhythm, for the shorter texts the sounds were held long, sometimes very long, without losing the colour of the speaking voice. The resulting work X-ED ESSAY is presented using nine speakers, each playing two of the recorded texts in a landscape of meditation mats and cushions. The audience is invited to receive the sound in a Zen mix of clear focus and receptive relaxation. At various times, Tom Hannes will be present at the installation, in sitting or walking Zen meditation.

Performance dates:

8 June, 19:00 — 23:00: opening night
18 June, 14:00 — 19:00: An afternoon of Artefact sound
25 June, 14:00 — 19:00: finissage

2023 - 18-channel audio installation and performance

Courtesy the artist
With the support of De Grote Post
Commissioned by STUK, House for Dance, Image & Sound in the context of The Ecstatic Being. Between knowing and understanding (2023).
Thu 8 Jun 2023 19:00 - 23:00
Sun 18 Jun 2023 14:00 - 19:00
Sun 25 Jun 2023 14:00 - 19:00


STUK Paviljoenenzaal