Box with the Sound of its own Making

Robert Morris constructed Box with the Sound of Its Own Making in January 1961 in New York City. The box consists of six pieces of nutwood that were joined to form an enclosed cube. The noises of carpentry that were produced during the some three hours of work with hammer and saw were recorded on tape. A small loudspeaker inside the box plays back those sounds, acoustically re-enacting the making of the object. In Morris’s artistic circle, the Box was also regarded as a type of musical performance. John Cage, for example, while visiting Morris’s studio, treated the work like a private concert, sitting down in front of the box and listening to the entire duration of the tape. Eluding any attempt at clear classification, Box with the Sound of Its Own making highlights the relationships between sculpture and music, visual and acoustic perception, and process and object.