THE CHARLES ELIOT NORTON LECTURES
Cover: I–VI, from Harvard University PressCover: I–VI in MIXED MEDIA

I–VI

Add to Cart

Product Details

MIXED MEDIA

$269.00 • £193.95 • €242.00

ISBN 9780674440081

Publication Date: 01/01/1990

Short

464 pages

15 halftones, 2 audio cassettes

The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures

World

Without doubt the most influential American composer of the last half century, John Cage has had an enormous impact not only on music but on art, literature, the performing arts, and aesthetic thought in general. His insistent exploration of “nonintention” and his fruitful merging of Western and Eastern traditions have made him a powerful force in the world of the avant-garde.

There have never been lectures like these: delivered at Harvard in 1988–89 as the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, they were more like performances, as the audience heard them. Cage calls them “mesostics,” a literary form generated by chance (in this case computerized I-Ching chance) operations. Using the computer as an oracle in conjunction with a large source text, he happens upon ideas, which produce more ideas. Chance, and not Cage, makes the choices and central decisions. Such a form is rooted, Cage tells us in his introduction, in the belief that “all answers answer all questions.”

Acting as a kind of counterpoint to the six texts here are transcripts (edited by Cage) of the provocative question-and-answer seminars that followed each presentation. Included with the book are two audiocassettes, one of Cage reading a mesostic (IV), allowing the listener to experience it as it was delivered, and one with a lively selection from the question-and-answer seminars that conveys the flavor of the event. The illustrations consist of fifteen different chance-determined prints from a single negative by Robert Mahon of the first autograph page of Cage’s Sixteen Dances (1951).

I–VI is, in short, an experience of John Cage, where silences become words and words become silences, in arrangements that will disconcert and exercise our minds.

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, from Harvard University Press

“Predictive Policing” and Racial Profiling

While technology used in policing has improved, it hasn’t progressed, says Khalil Gibran Muhammad, if racial biases are built into those new technologies. This excerpt from his book, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, shows that for the reform called for by the current protests against systemic racism and racially-biased policing to be fulfilled, the police—especially those at the top—will need to change their pre-programmed views on race and the way they see the Black citizens they are supposed to “serve and protect.”