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CAGE: A Filmic Circus On Metaphors on Vision  (2013)

Black and White / Color
54 min

Single channel distillation of the five channel installation

 5 channel Installation shot of CAGE: A Filmic Circus On Metaphors on Vision (1999)


          an eye unpreJudiced
                             lOgic an eye
                           wHich does
                              Not respond
everything but whiCh
                            eAch encounter in life
                     throuGh an
                        advEnture of perception
first mesostic from writing through Stan Brakhage's text  METAPHORS ON VISION

After working with John Cage on the film project Ryoanji (from my series Film for Music for Film), I was intrigued by the idea of creating a film "portrait" of him. Having shot a film of Cage over the past three years and working with him on new piano preparations for the live presentations of Ryoanji, it became apparent that the score Circus On would be an interesting choice as it consists of a series of instructions that could be interpreted filmicly. Not being interested in subjecting the recording mechanism (the camera) and all of its variables to chance procedures, it occurred to me that I could create a film portrait within the parameters of Cage's ideas by subjecting the images to chance procedures, thereby creating a certain comfort level with the resultant possibilities and opening the image field to an "imageworld" of ideas.

Imusicircus is a threefold realization of John Cage's Circus On by composer Douglas Cohen and film artist Lawrence Brose. The score to Circus On is a set of directions for creating an audio performance piece based on a text. First, one is instructed to "write through" a book (using mesostic form) to distill a text for recitation (i.e., Cage's Writing for the Second Time through Finnegans Wake). This mesostic text is then used as a guide to make a "circus of relevant sounds." The recited text and "circus of sounds" are combined to create a stereo recording (i.e., Cage's Roaratorio). For the video component, the instructions were adapted to create a multiple video tape interpretation of the score based on Metaphors On Vision by Stan Brakhage. In this way, a "circus of images" is extrapolated from what originally was a score for a "circus of sounds."

This project is about translation. It is about the translation of a score for music into a "score" for video and film. It is about translating Cage's ideas and aesthetics in the world of sound into the visual realm. The videos for this project were created at the Experimental Television Center.

The sound for this installation was created by composer Douglas Cohen and is a distillation from the three primary performances at LACE (Los Angeles, CA), Experimental Intermedia Loft (NYC), and LACMA (LA). The original performance work was commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum and LA MOCA as a city circus event for the John Cage museum exhibition Rolyholyover A Circus. This is the USA premier of the gallery installation version commissioned by the Triskel Arts Center, Cork, Ireland.

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