The John Cage Personal Stereo (1996)

The John Cage Personal Stereo


The John Cage Personal Stereo (JCPS) revisited John Cage’s experiments from the 1960’s re-contextualising these ideas in a contemporary new-media society.

Further Details

Conventional personal stereos create a sonic bubble that effectively detaches the user from their immediate physical space. The JCPS inverts this principle by substituting the audio player (CD or MP3) for a stereo amplifier. Instead of ignoring the surrounding sounds the JCPS re-presents or re-frames these everyday sounds by increasing their amplitude; commonplace sounds that are often passed over or blocked out by the public become “larger than life” refocusing the user’s attention to their detail and quality.

During the exhibition members of the public were each given a JCPS unit, and invited to use it to sonically investigate a laboratory bench on which resided a number of familiar sound producing devices such as: typewriters, switches, telephones, writing implements, books (turning the pages of), etc.


1996 Earthworks Festival, Trinity Buoy Wharf, East London


Festival organised by the Earthworks Collective