Search This Blog

19 July 2017

Alana Pagnutti's "Reception: The Radio-Works of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage" (Smith+Brown, 2016)

Alana Pagnutti, Reception: The Radio-Works of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage
(Smith+Brown, 2016 © Christine Jones)

Pagnutti's work is the first comprehensive look at how Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage embraced and employed radio in some of their most sophisticated and experimental works between 1942 and 1991. These include Rauschenberg's artworks Broadcast (1959) and Oracle (1962-1965) and Cage's compositions Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951), Water Walk (1959), and Variations VII (1966). Pagnutti considers how both men were influenced by Marshall McLuhan, and how both used radio to foster and provoke new qualities of experience and to elicit the participation of their audiences. Edited by Victoria Miguel, designed by Christine Jones, and with a beautiful foreword by Angus Carlyle, co-director of Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP) at the London College of Communication (UAL). Illustrated, 73 pp.

The official book launch took place at Cafe OTO in London on July 10, 2017, 7-9 pm, with two performances by Arthur Bruce of Cage's Water Walk.  Fun to note that Bruce made use in his arsenal of instruments two of Cage's originals, on loan from the archives of the John Cage Trust: Cage's gong and one of his small, yarn-covered mallets.

Here's a little video excerpt of Bruce's performance (captured by filmmaker George South), where he uses both.

We offered the slightly dented pot lid that Cage used on occasion when touring (see below), but it was declined in favor of an actual cymbal, as called for in the score.

The wonderful photographer Fabio Lugaro was in attendance, and has kindly shared a few of his images below.

Laura Kuhn

19 April 2017

Notes from Underground, David Rose on John Cage

In my many years with the John Cage Trust, I've seen a lot of very fine writing about John Cage. This essayNotes from Underground, Cage : Two (Diary and Letters), is David Rose's latest, and it's absolutely beautiful. Ostensibly, it's a review of both The Selected Letters of John Cage (Wesleyan University Press, 2016) and the first ever edition of all eight parts of Cage's Diary: How to Improve the World (You'll Only Make Matters Worse) (Siglio Press, 2015). But, it's far, far more. David is an avid mycologist, and he brings his passion for and insights into the art, science, and pure contemplation of mushrooms to this essay, so much so that I found myself reading it again and again. He also is spot on with regard to Cage's views on world improvement.  I think John Cage would have been heartened to see that someone out there really understood his devotion.

This piece appears here in advance of publication courtesy of Fungi, and its publisher and editor-in-chief, Britt Bunyard.  Look for Volume 10:1, Spring 2017, coming out soon.

Laura Kuhn