The Concept

In 2002 I was asked to propose a concept for a series of workshops at the new Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, which would tie into the work of John Cage, one of three artists contributing to the Museum's inaugural exhibition. Having been greatly influenced by him as a student, I considered a translation of the I Ching into sound using a graphic notation I had developed for a public school residency. I had used it to notate complex sound textures for performance by untrained musicians (the graphics had been drawn by art classes and performed by music classes) and I felt it had potential for translating hexagrams into sound. The idea was to seek judgments from the I Ching using yarrow sticks for appropriate sounds and music rather than for decisions about life. A question could be formed like "What sounds would be useful for these people in this space and at this time" resulting in a set of hexagrams and an associated set of graphic symbols. A performer would consult he book, produce one or more hexagrams, or any number of players could do likewise and produce additional hexagrams related to the same query. These would be performed to any agreed upon strategy, even where the divination process was a part of the presentation itself, to form compositions of great meaning and beauty.

So I opted to move in this direction; to standardize the notation some; to develop a system for translating the I Ching into this notation; and, to do all of this in time to present it at a workshop at the new Museum of Glass. And it was a daunting project, more difficult than expected, but the workshop happened, was popular beyond expectations, and, at the occasional request of the participants, I decided to make it available at my website.

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