This month’s Lift the Lid took its inspiration from the John Cage exhibition in the gallery. Cage was interested in the use of playful, game-like strategies to drive the process of making visual art and music. So we decided to play in a similar way.
Everything was based around the use of 12-sided dice, which took on the role of making creative decisions for all the activities. The dice decided which colours to use, which squares to colour, which notes to play.

We coloured grids of various degrees of complexity – including one where you had to make up your own set of rules to complete it.

We composed music on glockenspiels, using 12 notes to correspond to the 12 numbers on the dice.

Each composition was added to a musical score,

which grew,

and grew throughout the afternoon.

The anticipation and randomness of rolling dice seems to infect everyone with excitment. There is also the simple pleasure of following a enjoyable course of action, rather than worrying about having to make decisions. Nevertheless, you can always add further dimensions by contributing your own rules to the process.

Thank you to everyone who joined in and many thanks to my lovely volunteers, Pat and Ben, who kept the dice rolling.

Apparently our glockenspiels could be heard ringing out all over the Pavilion, competing with Charlie Hooker’s grand piano: an impromptu performance true to the spirit of John Cage.

Posted by Ryan Coleman on Wednesday 4 May 2011