Re: from EXiS in Korea regarding JOHN CAGE programming

From: andrew lampert (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Jun 19 2008 - 14:33:19 PDT

Hello I organized a big John Cage film festival in 2004 at Anthology Film Archives. This was subsequently presented in a few different forms in Germany, Canada and maybe elsewhere. I'm attaching the program notes below. A. ------ CageProgram 11/28/03 VARIATIONS: JOHN CAGE FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL Composer, poet, painter, philosopher, or as Arnold Schoenberg put it, “an inventor of genius”. These are a few descriptions one might when explaining John Cage to the uninitiated. In only 79 years, Cage managed to produce more music, art and ideas than practically any other individual of his generation. This film and video festival focuses on movies that invoke Cage in words, in sound, in action and in thought. From Cage-scored experimental shorts, to feature length documentaries about his works and collaborators, these 14 programs bring to light the brilliantly diverse legacy of John Cage. For their generous assistance in making the Festival possible, Anthology would like to thank Laura Kuhn of The John Cage Trust; Brian Brandt, Okkyung Lee and everyone at Mode Records; Stacy Sumpman and David Vaughan of the Merce Cunningham Foundation; Frank Scheffer; Elliot Caplan; Nam June Paik and Shigeko Kubota; Taka Iimura; Stephen Chodorov; Joel Chadabe; Vivian Perlis; Ray Kass; Alfred Leslie; Stacey Wong/C.F. Peters; Kitty Cleary/MoMA Circulating Film; Ilka Schmidt/Norddeutscher Rundfunk. Wednesday January 21 8:00 FILMMAKER IN PERSON! Frank Scheffer FROM ZERO 1995, 84 minutes, 16mm. Made in collaboration with Andrew Culver. FROM ZERO is a conceptual documentary that uses Cagean procedures to paint a portrait of the great composer. Renowned Dutch director Scheffer (familiar to new music aficionados for work with Elliott Carter and Bang On A Can, among others) and former Cage assistant Andrew Culver combine four short films to make one compelling suite. Featuring gorgeous cinematography, interviews and a performance of the composition FOURTEENby the Ives Ensemble, FROM ZEROis above all a definitive look at chance operations in process. This screening celebrates the DVD release of FROM ZERO on Mode Records. WAGNER’S RING 1987, 3:50 minutes. Short experimental film on the complete opera ‘Ring Des Nibelungen’ by Richard Wagner. Conceived by John Cage. STOPERAS I & II 1987, 2:50 minutes. A condensed experimental film of the complete operas ‘Europeras I & II’ composed by Cage. NOPERA 1995, 5 minutes. “Film in which Cage explains that he has a commission for an opera and is thinking of building up and breaking down Duchamp’s ‘Etant Donnes.’ That would a no(h)-opera.” –Frank Scheffer TIME IS MUSIC 1987. 30 minutes. A short documentary on Cage. Thursday January 22 7:00 Stan Vanderbeek POEMFIELD NO. 7 (Computer Art Series No. 7) 1968, 16mm, color, sound, 4-1/4 min. Music by John Cage. Programmer: Ken Knowlton, b/w computer graphics colorized by Brown and Olvey. A computer generated, text based film. & Stan Vanderbeek /Gordon Mumma VARIATIONS V 1965/1966, 50 minutes, 16mm (shown on video). NDR TV, Hamburg. VARIATIONS V was performed on July 23, 1965, by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company with music by and performed by John Cage, Malcolm Goldstein, Gordon Mumma, James Tenney, and David Tudor, with films by Stan VanDerBeek, and video by Nam June Paik. Robert Moog had built special antennas, actually modified theremins, that were positioned throughout the stage to trigger musical events when dancers passed by. 7:30 Frank Scheffer FROM ZERO 1995, 52 minutes, 16mm. With: WAGNER’S RING 1987, 3:50 minutes. STOPERAS I & II 1987, 2:50 minutes. NOPERA 1995, 5 minutes. TIME IS MUSIC 1987, 30 minutes. See notes for Wednesday January 21. 9:00 FILMMAKER IN PERSON! Elliot Caplan CHANGING STEPS 1989, 35 minutes, color/b&w, video. Directed Elliot Caplan and Merce Cunningham. Choreography by Merce Cunningham; music by John Cage, “Cartridge Music” (1960); design by Elliot Caplan; costumes by Mark Lancaster, Suzanne Gallo. Produced by Cunnigham Dance Foundation and La SEPT. Dancers: Helen Barrow, Kimberly Bartosik, Emma Diamond, Victoria Finlayson, Alan Good, Chris Komar, David Kulick, Patricia Lent, Larissa McGoldrick, Dennis O’Connor, Kristy Santimyer, Robert Swinston, Carol Teitelbaum, Robert Wood. Merce Cunningham choreographed “Changing Steps” in 1973 and it was first included in a performance given at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York. In its original form it consisted of a solo dance for each member of the company, 5 duets, 3 trios, 2 quartets, and 2 quintets, which could be performed in any order, and separately or overlapping if space allowed. & Elliot Caplan BEACH BIRDS FOR CAMERA 1993, 28 minutes, b&w/color, 35mm. Choreography by Merce Cunningham; music by John Cage, “Four3”; costumes by Marsha Skinner. Produced by Cunningham Dance Foundation. Dancers: Helen Barrow, Kimberly Bartosik, Michael Cole, Emma Diamond, Victoria Finlayson, Frédéric Gafner, Alan Good, David Kulick, Patricia Lent, Larissa McGoldrick, Randall Sanderson, Robert Swinston, Carol Teitelbaum, Jenifer Weaver. BEACH BIRDS FOR CAMERA is a 35mm wide-screen film adaptation of a dance work originally made for the stage. When it was first suggested to John Cage that he should create a work in collaboration with Merce Cunningham for the 1991 James Joyce/John Cage Festival in Zurich, Cage had the idea to write a large-scale piece to be called “Ocean,” which refers to the fact that James Joyce’s projected next book after “Finnegans Wake” was to be called “Ocean.” No suitable space was available for such a project so it was decided that instead, they would make a new dance for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s repertory. Cunningham had always intended to call his part of the work “Beach Birds,” and he kept the title. Friday January 23 7:00 Elliot Caplan CAGE/CUNNINGHAM 1991, 95 minutes, b&w/color, stereo. Choreography by Merce Cunningham; music by John Cage; written by David Vaughan. Produced by Cunningham Dance Foundation in association with La SEPT. CAGE/CUNNINGHAM is a feature film portrait tracing the history of the collaboration of choreographer, Merce Cunningham and John Cage, which began nearly fifty years ago at the Cornish Institute of Allied Arts in Seattle, Washington. In telling the story of Cunningham and Cage, award winning filmmaker and Cunningham collaborator, Elliot Caplan, utilizes candid footage of their activities around the world since 1983, rare footage from the Cunningham and Cage archives, and interviews with principal figures involved in the collaboration. Mr. Caplan’s daily contact with Cage and Cunningham has inspired a revealing and sensitive portrait of two men whose spirit of adventure and iconoclastic thinking have helped to revolutionize life, as well as art in the twentieth century. With: Maya Deren AT LAND 1944, 15 minutes, 16 mm. John Cage appears (alongside Parker Tyler, Alexander Hammid and Philip Lamantia) in a group of men walking along a path in Deren’s landmark avant-garde film. 9:30 Dick Fontaine SOUND?? 1967, 27 minutes. John Cage’s enigmatic questions about sound are intercut with some of the most ambitious experiments of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. While Kirk plays three saxes at once, switches to flute, incorporates tapes of birds played backwards, and finally hands out whistles to the audience and encourages them to accompany him, Cage is preparing a piece for musical bicycle with David Tudor and Merce Cunningham. & Joel Chadabe HPSCHD 1994, 45 minutes. HPSCHD, a collaboration between John Cage and Lejaren Hiller, first performed on May 16, 1969 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, called for 7 harpsichords playing randomly-processed music by Mozart and other composers, 51 tapes of computer-generated sounds, approximately 5,000 slides of abstract designs and space exploration, and several films, all of which were performed or presented simultaneously in an asynchronous and exuberant anarchy of activity. HPSCHD was the ultimate multimedia experience. This documentary captures a restaging of this seminal Cage “happening,” performed in Holland in the early 90s. Saturday January 24 3:00 Allan Miller JOHN CAGE: I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AND I’M SAYING IT 1990, 60 minutes, video. Produced by Allan Miller and Vivian Perlis for PBS American Masters series. A performance biography of the composer with segments from pieces for “prepared piano,” a piano modified by placing an assortment of objects against selected strings to alter the sound, percussion instruments, conch shells, whistles and bird calls. & Jud Yalkut JOHN CAGE MUSHROOM HUNTING IN STONY POINT 1972-73, 7 minutes, color, 16mm, silent. With Shari Dienes, Jeni Engel, Shalom Gurewitz, Shigeko Kubota, and Nam June Paik. Filmic impressions of Cage mushroom hunting on his home ground of Stony Point, New York; visiting his home for the last time; radiating love towards his friends; and buying fruits and vegetables at the farm market before returning to New York City. “Cage collecting Mushrooms in the woods!” -- The Village Voice 5:00 Shigeko Kubota MARCEL DUCHAMP AND JOHN CAGE 1972, 28:27 minutes, b&w and color, sound. Video pioneer Kubota captures and visually transforms the unimaginable meeting of Cage and Duchamp in the midst of a match on an electronically wired chessboard. And that is only the start… & David Vaughan/KCET THE COLLABORATORS: CAGE, CUNNINGHAM, RAUSCHENBERG 1987, 55 minutes, color, video. Moderated by David Vaughan. Produced by KCET Public Television. Dancers: Karole Armitage, Karen Attix, Helen Barrow, Louise Burns, Ellen Cornfield, Susan Emery, Morgan Ensminger, Karen Fink, Lise Friedman, Alan Good, Neil Greenberg, Meg Harper, Catherine Kerr, Chris Komar, Robert Kovich, Judy Lazaroff, Joseph Lennon, Charles Moulton, Susan Quinn, Rob Remley, Julie Roess-Smith, Robert Swinston. The first part of this documentary features a revealing and informal discussion between Cunningham and his longtime collaborators Cage and artist Robert Rauschenberg. Their lively interchange is intercut with archival footage from their collaborative works, “Travelogue,” “Minutiae,” and “Antic Meet.” They discuss designing and composing for dance, aesthetic philosophies, and the adventures encountered when touring and performing together. The second part consists of a filmdance titled COAST ZONE. 7:00 Nam June Paik and John Godfrey GLOBAL GROOVE 1973, 28:30 minutes, color, sound. In this seminal masterpiece, Paik takes us on a tour of the world as seen through video glasses. A glorious kitchen sink of synthesized images featuring everyone from Cage and Cunningham to Richard Nixon and Charlotte Moorman performing the infamous TV Bra for Living Sculpture. A video so great that it might just leave you humming Mitch Ryder’s Devil In A Blue Dress. & Nam June Paik MERCE BY MERCE BY PAIK 1978, 28:45 minutes, color, sound. Made in collaboration with Charles Atlas, Merce Cunningham, and Shigeko Kubota. A very loving two-part tribute to both the revered choreographer Merce Cunningham and Marcel Duchamp. The first section, known as BLUE STUDIO, manipulates a Cunningham dance in a video environment. The second segment uses an interview with Duchamp and images from daily life to ask the question; “Is this dance?” & Nam June Paik A TRIBUTE TO JOHN CAGE 1973, 29:02 minutes, color, sound. Cage was one of Paik’s greatest influences, and this video documents their collaborations and long lasting friendship. Along with footage of Cage is performances, words and thoughts from copmposers Marianne Amacher, Alvin Lucier, David Behrman, David Tudor, Richar Teitelbaum and many more. 9:00 CAGE SHORTS PROGRAM ONE John Cage / Frank Scheffer CHESSFILMNOISE 1988, 18 minutes. Produced by Frank Scheffer. A conceptual film directed by John Cage. & Frank Scheffer ETUDES SOLARES 1988, 24 minutes. “A Connectional film in juxtaposition with the composition ‘Etudes Boreales’ by John Cage.” – Frank Scheffer. & Lawrence F. Brose RYOANJI 1990 , 20 minutes, color, 16mm. Music by John Cage; performed by the Buffalo New Music Ensemble. “The cinematic challenge here was to create a visual image of musical glissandi. In his notes on RYOANJI, composer John Cage requested that the glissandi be “non-vibrato and as close as possible to the sound events found in nature rather than those occurring normally in music. The score is otherwise a ‘still photograph’ of mobile circumstances.” The images are put onto this film by hand. Rather than a series of photographs one after another, the image on the screen is of lines etched along the entire length of the film, providing a sustained, continuous image. This establishes a visual continuum. Also, using images of nature, I take these moving images and stack-print them onto each other, six, 12, or even 24 times to create another kind of movement. –Lawrence Brose Sunday January 25 12:00 Roberta Friedman, Don Gillespie, Gene Caprioglio 49 WALTZES FOR THE FIVE BOROUGHS 1977, 120 minutes. Additional camera work by Carl Teitelbaum, Arlene Schloss and Louis D’Agostino. Sponsored by Black Maria Inc. with funding from Thomas Buckner and The Foundation for the Contemporary Performance Arts. “Cage’s text-score of ‘49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs’ consists of 147 specific sites in New York City which Cage determined by chance operations and arranged into individual groups of three locations (“waltzes”). His musical score is a 44”x 64” colored map of New York City upon which he superimposed multi-colored triangles whose extremities indicate the various locations. Cage intended for the Performer or Listener or Record maker to go to each of the locations and to listen to the sounds (or “music”) of the city. For this video realization of the score we went to each of Cage’s specified locations, set up a camera and recorded the surroundings with an automatic panning device. There are 3 locations or “movements” for each “Waltz”. The length of each shot was determined by Cagian chance operations, supervised by Andrew Culver. The sequence of waltzes on the finished videotape was also chance determined.”—the Filmmakers. 3:00 Laura Kuhn JAMES JOYCE, MARCEL DUCHAMP, ERIK SATIE: AN ALPHABET 2001, 72 minutes, video. A theatrical realization of Cage’s radio play, conceived and directed by Laura Kuhn, executor of The John Cage Trust. The video captures a single performance of the piece at UCB’s Zellerbach Auditorium. Features Merce Cunningham as Erik Satie, and John Kelly as the Narrator. The “sound effects” score was realized from Cage’s manuscript notes by the New York composer Mikel Rouse. A New York City premiere! & Sung Yeon Son THE BALLOON 2003, 7 minutes. An animated film using Cage’s ‘Sonatas and Interludes’ as its score. 5:00 John Cage on Television I’VE GOT A SECRET January, 1960. 30 minutes, Cage’s appearance on the popular TV gameshow, co-starring panelist Zsa Zsa Gabor. Unbelievable. & STEPHEN CHODOROV / CAMERA THREE Aspects of a New Consciousness, Dialogue III 1969, 30 min, color, sound. A historical document, produced in 1969 for the CBS television program CAMERA THREE. In a wide-ranging dialogue Cage explains aspects of his work, his aesthetic philosophies, his working processes, and artistic strategies. He also comments on the methodologies and references that informed specific compositions, including ‘Variations II’ and ‘The Williams Mix.’ & WGBH-TV New York City and Cambridge, Mass., September 11, 1971. The work contains directions for the realization of a TV-film. It was written at the request of WGBH Television, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The score is similar to that of ‘Rozart Mix’ in that it comprises the correspondence between Cage, WGBH-TV and Eva Smerchek of the Caledonia Woman’s Club (who asked Cage to donate a work for a benefit auction for retarded children). The published score consists of 3 leaves, the first of which is a letter from Mrs. Eva Smerchek, the second a fax leaf with Cage’s reply and the third contains directions for the realization of the film, written on a stamped envelope. 7:30 Taka Iimura JOHN CAGE PERFORMS JAMES JOYCE 1985, Color, 15 minutes. Sound in English with John Cage & Ray Kass JOHN CAGE NEW RIVER WATERCOLORS 1990, 14 minutes. A documentary about Cage’s work as a painter at the Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia. “It doesn’t matter who holds the brush.” John Cage & Stan Brakhage IN BETWEEN 1955, 10 1⁄2 minutes, color, sound, 16mm. Music by John Cage. & Herbert Matter WORKS OF CALDER 1950, 20 minutes. Sound by John Cage. Thanks to the Museum of Modern Art. The tape includes sounds of mobiles bumping into one another, recorded in Calder’s studio. The soundtrack was recorded in January 1950. The idea of the music was Cage’s philosophy that the sounds be the noises and that they be relevant to what one is seeing on the pictures. “Rhythmically composed sequences suggest a parallel between familiar forms and movements in nature and the movements of Calder’s mobile” (from John Cage: ‘A Few Ideas About Music and Film’)

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