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Variations V (Cage, John), 19654\'33\'\' (Cage, John), 1952

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acknowledgement of a notion of time «which has already been recognized on the part of broadcast communications, radio, television, not to mention magnetic tape, not to mention travel by air, departures and arrivals… [and] not to mention telephony.»[13]

John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg—and as a result many productions by the Judson Dance Theater, where Yvonne Rainer and Carolee Schneemann «directed»—placed their stakes not on holistic aspirations but on artistic autonomy and difference. In doing so, they followed on from the argument that Bertolt Brecht used against the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk in his «Notes on the Opera» (1930): «So long as the expression ‹Gesamtkunstwerk› (or ‹integrated work of art›) means that the integration is a muddle, so long as the arts are supposed to be ‹fused› together, the various elements will all be equally degraded, and each will act as a mere ‹feed› to the rest.… Words, music, and setting must become more independent of one another.»[14] John Cage, as already cited, applied this view to the most diverse technical and electronic recording and broadcasting mediums. The interactive dance project


«Variations V» put on stage by Cunningham together with Cage, Billy Klüver, Nam June Paik and Stan VanDerBeek in 1965 was a representative example of many structurally open performances that included the usage of media technologies: It generated its own soundtrack to accompany the music by means of photo-electrical sensors and microphones that responded to the dancer's movements.[15]

However, in Cage's performances (here in the more narrow sense of a theatrical or musical delivery) the experience of one's own body in a real time and place also became a performance, became the performative act of an open structure: «The purest example is probably the famous «4'33'',» first performed by David Tudor in Woodstock, New York, in August 1952. Inspired by his experience in an anechoic chamber—where instead of experiencing total silence as he had anticipated, Cage heard both the pitched impulses of his nervous system and the low-pitched drone of his blood circulating—he decided to demonstrate that ‹silence› in music is actually composed of any number of ‹incidental› sounds originating from sources other than the musicians and their instruments.»[16] Thus, an

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