MPSG 2017 Associate Session: Performance Philosophy Research Network




Catherine Robb, Naomi Woo, Martin Iddon, Anthony Gritten (chair)

In what sense can the work of John Cage be situated between performance and philosophy? Where along the spectrum of activities collected under the umbrella term ‘Performance Philosophy’ does his work operate and have its affects? What space does Cage inhabit between these terms? Much can be said about Cage’s role both as a performer himself and in his multifarious relationships with performers: about the role of his notations in setting performers in motion, about the creative collaborations he undertook with many artists, about the performer’s body and its senses, about the challenges he set performers both to perform differently and to think differently, and so on. Much can also be said about his work as philosophy, as thought: about its many different sources in American and Eastern traditions, about its relationship to his practice, about his use of technology, about the role of his written texts in his artistic output, and about the ways in which his ideas have been taken up by others both during his lifetime and since. Somewhere in the space between performance and philosophy Cage’s ‘artistry’ works its way into the world, but what might this concept mean in 2017? What can be learnt from Cage in 2017?

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