John in Cage

On Saturday I went to the exhibit John in Cage at the Chalton Gallery, a very small gallery. It was a lovely event and I enjoyed speaking to the curatorial students that put it on and to Richard Melkonian about his composition/sculptural work. I noticed that the scores of John Cage’s music on display had no key signature and change time signature every few bars. I also began to read Silence John Cage lectures and writings. my favourite quote “what is needed is irresponsibility”. I am also interested in how zen influences artists like John Cage and the east west identity.

There were unscheduled performances through out the evening. I noticed the organizers would go up to the old style radios on the gallery floor and retune them at seemingly random times. There was also a list of texts and a random number generator that would determine which text would be read by the participant audience. This was fun but I didn’t quite feel the significance of the chosen texts.

Richard installed hanging sculptures, made from mundane industrial objects, which could be played as instruments by gallery goers. During the performance/event he played drone sounds in the background a composition based off the chord created by the notes C A G E. Patrick then dumped across the gallery floor a scrunched up pieces of paper and invited the audience to pick up the pieces and follow the instructions. The instructions directed us to either read one of Cage’s texts out load, interact with the sculptures in a particular way, or make certain sounds.

I was very interested in speaking with Richard about composition and music. He is studying traditional classical composition but is moving towards the gallery space in an attempt to break from the prescribed audience and setting which music is “supposed” to be listened. It is interesting to see the borderlines of practice. I feel that my focus on sound thus far certainly borders music/music production and even interview at the moment.

It would be helpful if I could get a little lesson on music theory from him, as studying it on my own has not gotten very far. Bellow is one of Richard’s more traditional compositions.

He also recommended a very interesting piece which I will do more research in. Reminiscent of Karlheinz Stockausen’s Stimmung


John in Cage

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