The John Cage Musicircus App

06 2014

The Musicircus App is an experimental interface developed by Avco using HTML5, Javascript, the Youtube API and the Famous framework.

amcc was contracted by AVCO to collaborate on the software development and design of the Musicircus App for the Snape Maltings Musicircus event.

Working closely with Aldeburgh Music and the BBC, we designed and built an interface that would gather the many recordings of the Aldeburgh Music Musicircus event. The web based application enabled multiple videos to play simultaneously, recreating the experience of the Musicircus for an online audience.

A JavaScript based interface allows random clips to be selected and columns dragged to vary the size and volume of the clips.

In the 1960s, American composer John Cage began organising ‘happenings’ under the title Musicircus, where musicians, speakers and dancers would give different performances at the same time, very close to each other.

Audience members would wander around the space, gradually making sense of what seemed like chaos as the performances overlapped to create a spectacular range of sounds. In the words of Cage, “you won’t hear a thing. You’ll hear EVERYTHING.”

The Space partnered with Aldeburgh Music to to build an online tool that lets you create your own musicircus online. You can choose from over 40 performances to listen to two, three or four at a time, and explore different combinations of sights and sounds.

This is a digital version of a performance that took place on 22 June 2014 at the 67th Aldeburgh Festival, where 1000 musicians came together for two hours to create their own Musicircus. Together, they turned the town into a huge resounding mass.