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19 July 2017

Alana Pagnutti's "Reception: The Radio-Works of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage" (Smith+Brown, 2016)

Alana Pagnutti, Reception: The Radio-Works of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage
(Smith+Brown, 2016 © Christine Jones)

Pagnutti's work is the first comprehensive look at how Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage embraced and employed radio in some of their most sophisticated and experimental works between 1942 and 1991. These include Rauschenberg's artworks Broadcast (1959) and Oracle (1962-1965) and Cage's compositions Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951), Water Walk (1959), and Variations VII (1966). Pagnutti considers how both men were influenced by Marshall McLuhan, and how both used radio to foster and provoke new qualities of experience and to elicit the participation of their audiences. Edited by Victoria Miguel, designed by Christine Jones, and with a beautiful foreword by Angus Carlyle, co-director of Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP) at the London College of Communication (UAL). Illustrated, 73 pp.

The official book launch took place at Cafe OTO in London on July 10, 2017, 7-9 pm, with two performances by Arthur Bruce of Cage's Water Walk.  Fun to note that Bruce made use in his arsenal of instruments two of Cage's originals, on loan from the archives of the John Cage Trust: Cage's gong and one of his small, yarn-covered mallets.

Here's a little video excerpt of Bruce's performance (captured by filmmaker George South), where he uses both.

We offered the slightly dented pot lid that Cage used on occasion when touring (see below), but it was declined in favor of an actual cymbal, as called for in the score.

The wonderful photographer Fabio Lugaro was in attendance, and has kindly shared a few of his images below.

Laura Kuhn