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Branden W. Joseph's formidable Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art and Architecture throws open the terrain [of Cagean studies] once again.
Branden Joseph gradually unfolds the role of chance, transformation, performativity and transparency in music, and provides an interesting multi-layered understanding of the latter's intercourse with other disciplines ... The book provides an innovative understanding of the examined ideas that remains open, allowing for other disciplines to enter into the suggested discourse ... In this way Joseph offers to artists and architects valuable tools to work on the further development on the role of tracing, documenting, scoring and attuning in the performative understanding of their areas.
The Journal of Architecture
Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art, and Architecture is a brilliant and vital critical contribution to the growing body of art historical scholarship on John Cage's multidisciplinary legacy. The readymade Cage of chance and silence is replaced by a rich and nuanced narrative of a compositional practice nourished by its evolving and often conflicted exchanges with the artistic, architectural and political avant-gardes.
Ina Blom, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo, Norway
Experimentations provides a detailed historical and theoretical analysis of the first three decades of experimental composer John Cage's aesthetic production (ca. 1940-1972). Paying particular attention to Cage's inter- and cross-disciplinary engagements with the visual arts and architecture during this period, the book sheds new light on some of Cage's most controversial and influential innovations, such as the use of noise, chance techniques, indeterminacy, electronic technologies, and computerization, as well as upon lesser known but important ideas and strategies such as transparency, multiplicity, virtuality, and actualization. Ultimately, it traces the development of Cage's avant-garde aesthetic and political project as it transformed from the emulation of historical avant-garde precedents such as futurism and the Bauhaus, to the development of important precedents for the post-World War II movements of happenings and Fluxus, to its ultimate abandonment in the aftermath of problems encountered in the vast, multimedia composition HPSCHD (1967-69).
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