File spoon-archives/avant-garde.archive/avant-garde_1998/avant-garde.9805, message 37


Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 12:49:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Hello?


Saul wrote:

> As to my reading of Cages aesthetic of indifference, detachment and
> indeterminacy ( all of which has nothing to do with being meaningless but
> just the inverse the impossiblity of wiling meaning) that will have to wait
> till the weekend --for  it is premised the _belief_ that a  dialectical
> inversion  arises when an author absenses themself so that art ( this
> includes visual, acoustic and literary forms)  may  become the medium of
> either non-reflexive experience or individuated audience interpretations.
> If one is trying to dismantle  the authority that is engendered by
> authorship  and intention within art -- there must be a rhyme and a reason
> for this --  One voiew is it is an exploration of the role that authorship
> plays the other is what are the aesthetic effects that can be achieved once
> such control is abandoned or re-interpreted.    My comments on Cage have
> two sources , first his effct on others who were intent on remaining
> artists ( Johns, Rauschenberg etc) , secondly its an interpretation that
> arises from trying to put Cage back into his becoming rather than placing
> him in the context of what he became.  Remember in the late 40's and early
> 50's Cage is circumscribed by the concerns of serial music and those of
> overcoming the metaphysics of transcendent subjectivism  so that music
> might be what music is -- what ever that might be in the absence of
> tradition and supposition. More later

Let me tell you what my problem is with this, as it stands.  It seems to me
that the terms of your discourse leave no room for precisely some of
the kinds of things that most deeply concerned Cage -- namely musicmaking as 
a micro-political agent, a nexus and potential transformer of social/communal 
relationships.  In other words, you are analyzing Cage's role in terms 
that presuppose a certain position of art within the social body -- but 
a position which, I think, a priori forecloses the possibilities that Cage 
envisioned for music, the aspirations that he had for and through it.  
It seems to me that the framework you sketch above does not even leave room 
for discussing whether or not, and why, it would be possible for art to 
transform the way people relate to each other.  I submit to you that we 
urgently need frameworks that provide us with tools for discussing this, 
and that discussing Cage only makes sense within such a framework.


-m


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