In 2005 Toop was commissioned to curate a group exhibition related to composer John Cage as an adjunct to the Arnolfini exhibition: Starting At Zero: Black Mountain College 1933-57. Playing John Cage was conceived as a contemporary reflection of his enduring influence. In populist music theory Cage has become a symbol of ‘what went wrong’. For Playing John Cage this was challenged by emphasising the link between Cage’s ideas and contemporary sonic arts practice. Chance, accident, quotation, ambient sound and the establishment of silence and noise as legitimate areas for sonic exploration have proved to be liberating for those who hear sound as a primary material, rather than a starting point for music.
Toop’s research on John Cage began in the late 1960s; since then he has studied many aspects of his work, including the significance of his so-called silent piece: 4’ 33”, and research findings have been published in two books: Ocean of Sound and Haunted Weather. The exhibition also developed strategies from past exhibitions, such as Sonic Boom (Hayward Gallery, 2000), and Radical Fashion (Victoria and Albert Museum, 2001). Given the difficulties of showing sonic work in one room, the example of Cage pieces such as Variations IV was followed, which celebrated the co-existence in one space of many sound signals simultaneously. Other themes explored in the exhibition included Cage’s fascination with the Kyoto Zen garden, Ryoanji, represented in a group piece by video artist Takagi Masakatsu, and sound artists Ryoji Ikeda and Carsten Nicolai; and Cage’s activities as an expert on mushrooms, represented by Michael Prime’s work for mushrooms, electrical fields, bioactivity translators and amplification.
The concert, Playing John Cage Live, featured artists involved in the exhibition – Alvin Curran, Kaffe Matthews, Akio Suzuki, Michael Prime and David Toop, along with cellist Anton Lukoszevieze and pianist Philip Thomas.
|Type of Research:||Show/Exhibition|
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||RAE2008 UoA63|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > London College of Communication|
|Date:||05 November 2005|
|Event Location:||Part of Black Mountain season at Arnolfini, Bristol|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||03 Dec 2009 23:53|
|Last Modified:||03 May 2011 10:43|