Silence: Lectures and Writings

Silence: Lectures and Writings

Silence: Lectures and Writings

Silence: Lectures and Writings

Synopsis

Silence, A Year from Monday, M, Empty Words & X (in this order) form the five parts of a series of books in which Cage tries, as he says, "to find a way of writing which comes from ideas, is not about them, but which produces them." Often these writings include mesostics & essays created by subjecting the work of other writers to chance procedures using the I Ching (what Cage called "writing through").

Excerpt

For over twenty years I have been writing articles and giving lectures. Many of them have been unusual in form--this is especially true of the lectures--because I have employed in them means of composing analogous to my composing means in the field of music. My intention has been, often, to say what I had to say in a way that would exemplify it; that would, conceivably, permit the listener to experience what I had to say rather than just hear about it. This means that, being as I am engaged in a variety of activities, I attempt to introduce into each one of them aspects conventionally limited to one or more of the others.

So it was that I gave about 1949 my Lecture on Nothing at the Artists' Club on Eighth Street in New York City (the artists' club started by Robert Motherwell, which predated the popular one associated with Philip Pavia, Bill de Kooning, et al.). This Lecture on Nothing was written in the same rhythmic structure I employed at the time in my musical compositions (Sonatas and Interludes, Three Dances, etc.). One of the structural divisions was the repetition, some fourteen times, of a single page in which occurred the refrain, "If anyone is sleepy let him go to sleep." Jeanne Reynal, I remember, stood up part way through, screamed, and then said, while I continued speaking, "John, I dearly love you, but I can't bear another minute." She then walked out. Later, during the question period, I gave one of six previously prepared answers regardless of the question asked. This was a reflection of my engagement in Zen.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.