Friday, February 8, 2008

John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and "The Event"

Describe your response to the description of "The Event" organized by John Cage.

Based solely on the descriptions of "The Event" from Off the Wall, it seems as though nobody knew quite what to make of it. As the author explains, Martin Duberman gathered five different recollections from five different people. This, of course, says something about the art of "The Event". No two people see art the exact same way.

Despite this, what is described in this passage does seem like a truly bizarre experience. A hollow square of in-turned chairs, John Cage lecturing from atop a ladder, Rauschenberg playing records on a fifty year-old Victrola, poetry readings, Cage's music played on piano, and a number of other performances are described as having taken place.

It is not clear whether or not these pieces all took place at once, or if they occurred in succession. Surely, not everything could have happened at once. That might have completely detracted from the experience. It would seem to me that the best way to perform something like this would be to have maybe two or three things going on at once, if only to keep all the pieces from jumbling together.

As Tomkins claims, "The Event" is allegedly the first 'multimedia spectacle' ever performed.
To any viewer, this might have been a truly unheard of experience. But I'm sure those present, the first people to witness such an event, were moved in one way or another. Whether it was extreme confusion, applause, laughter, or anger, this seems like the kind of event that one does not simply walk away from cold.

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