Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No subject

No image

No taste

No beauty

No message

No talent

No technique

No idea

No intention

No art

No feeling

No black

No white (no and)


--John Cage, 1953

12 comments:

Lars said...

Have you watched the Variations: VII documentary over at Pitchfork, yet?

http://www.pitchfork.tv/week/john-cage-variations-vii/documentary-chapter-01

I think I still owe you a Max Roach bootleg.

Jon said...

no sex
no drugs
no wine
no women
no fun
no sin
no you
no wonder it's dark

-Vapors, 'Turning Japanese', 1980

:)

Jesse said...

The Cage litany is either directly or indirectly lifted from the Heart Sutra, a classic text well known to zennies. The Heart Sutra litany (no eye, no ear, no taste, no suffering, no enlightenment...) is a distilled teaching on the buddhist take on form and emptiness.
That wag!

Jon said...

in comparison, the Vapors lyrics are likely entirely original.

Brian Olewnick said...

Damn that plagiarist Cage! Though it sounds like he just took the form, no? In any case, his words were for the occasion of an exhibition of Rauschenberg's white paintings and seem apt.

Alastair said...

no input mixing board

Brian Olewnick said...

Lars, haven't seen that one but my Netflix pic for this week is Cage's "One 11 with 103" on Mode.

"No" as a first word in a song title struck me as very cool back in the old days and still has resonances of that feeling for me. I remember getting Frith's solo LP on Caroline in '75, seeing the title, "No Birds" and getting a little frisson of delight.

Robert said...

Brian, you definitely need to watch that Variations VII dvd, one of the better things I've seen this year. The documentary is cool but the real gold is the audio part of the DVD with the complete performance of the piece on it. You can buy it from Microcinema or get it from Netflix. Either way definitely see it. BTW since I know you are also a Rauschenberg fan Microcinema has also put out his Open Score which along with Variations VII was part of the 9 Evenings event.

As for One^11 with 103 I have to say the video part of that is amazingly great. Its like a flicker Rauschenberg white painting, really among the most interesting abstract videos I've seen. There are two versions of 103 on the disc: the original recording by the WDR Symphony Orchestra and a new recording by the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. Check em both out for yourself but I really didn't like the Spoleto take, I found it really lifeless.

Brian Olewnick said...

Variations VII is indeed in my Netflix queue...along with 444 other discs. Since I'm using Cagean means of determining each week's selection (choosing a random number between 1 and x), who knows when it'll be the lucky pick?

Robert said...

You are the man Brian :)

Anonymous said...

no fun, ha! there's antithesis for you....

Brian Olewnick said...

Forgot to mention, I watched the Cage DVD over the weekend and loved it, something I should purchase one day. The visuals were fascinating (and, after watching the documentary footage, absurdly complex in their production), the music lovely, more steady state than I would have guessed.

The score itself, the watermarked and flame-treated paper, might be my favorite aspect of the piece.