The Process That Is the World: Cage/Deleuze/Events/Performances

The Process That Is the World: Cage/Deleuze/Events/Performances

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 162892571X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Process That Is the World grapples with John Cage not just as a composer, but as a philosopher advocating for an ontology of difference in keeping with the kind posited by Gilles Deleuze. Cage's philosophy is not simply a novel method for composition, but an extensive argument about the nature of reality itself, the construction of subjects within that reality, and the manner in which subjectivity and a self-creative world exist in productive tension with one another. Over the course of the study, these themes are developed in the realms of the ontology of a musical work, performance practices, ethics, and eventually a study of Cagean politics and the connection between aesthetic experience and the generation of new forms of collective becoming-together. The vision of Cage that emerges through this study is not simply that of the maverick composer or the “inventor of genius,” but of a thinker and artist responding to insights about the world-as-process as it extends through the philosophical, artistic, and ethical registers: the world as potential for variance, reinvention, and permanent revolution.

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ontological truth – it is an active making-the-same in an effort to slow the world’s process of self-differing. If the goal of art is, as Cage often asserts, to imitate nature in her manner of operation, then it is necessary to abandon aspirations to transcendent judgment. “Right” and “wrong” do not factor into a mode of production that is purely immanent – only tactical, functional judgments of “more successful” or “less successful” can operate without an otherworldly standard of measurement.

at which a sound enters into sensibility. “When I compose, I don’t try to interrupt that irrelevance, that freedom from

Cage’s investigations. He remained trapped within identity. Transgression and negation alone are insufficient to carry us from habit; they shock in a conventional sense while stopping well short of the shock-to-thought of the creative event. Provocation doesn’t reach into the virtual: it reaffirms an existing order of actions and reactions. It is reactive rather than exploratory – it is parasitic upon an existing hierarchy of identities, which it may momentarily invert but is incapable of

the noises and disruptions that escape signification. While irony ascends from the singularity of the event, humor descends to it, seizing that which escapes meaning and order in its capacity to disrupt the smooth functioning of anticipation and reaction. Against the regularizing powers of habit, narrative, and morality, it affirms the corporeality and chaos from which thought emerges and toward which it returns. While irony can provide a critique of reason, it lacks the positive and

difference and affirmation of life they are not simply celebrating the experience of everyday life (the banal, uniform acceptance of all sounds as “musical,” for instance), but instead insisting on the leap into chaos and unpredictable becoming. Thus all creativity is impersonal creativity. Because organisms are by nature conservative, we cannot think of novelty as emerging from inside the organism, but only

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