New York Public Library Launches John Cage ArchivePosted by Sarah Anne Lloyd
The New York Public Library has launched a John Cage digital archive project, John Cage Unbound: A Living Archive.
On the archive, Cage fans can celebrate Cage’s centennial curated series of browsable Cage curios; Want to see him play an amplified cacti and plant matter with a feather, review his notes from 1939 or view a 1960 TV performance of “Water Walk”, you can do all that and more on the extensive digital project. Far from just an ordinary YouTube or image search presentation, NYPL’s Jonathan Hiam has curated a collection that does justice to his legacy.
Also included in the archive are numerous modern tributes to the grandmaster of noise: Steve Butters performs “Suite for Toy Piano”, So Percussion interprets “But What About the Noise of Crumpling Paper…” and The Anta Project does “4’33″ at the US/Mexico border to transform the wall into an instrument. Artists inspired by Cage are encouraged to contribute their own interpretations of his art and music, as Cage believed that anybody can play.
Not that familiar with Cage? The archive is a great place to start, and even includes a beautifully succinct timeline with just enough detail: “Parts ways with Arnold Schoenberg after a disagreement over the value of harmony in music.” Already the biggest Cage fan ever? There are so many good things here, from photos to correspondence to interviews with those who worked with him. Go nerd out!