John Cage

john-cage.jpgExcerpts from the video: “John Cage: I Have Nothing To Say And I’m Saying It” (1990) Directed, Co-Produced, and Edited by Allan Miller

The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is: Why do I think it’s not beautiful? And very shortly you discover that there is no reason. If we can conquer that dislike, or begin to like what we did dislike, then the world is more open. That path—the path of increasing one’s enjoyment of life—is the path that I think we all best take.

My purpose is to use art not as self-expression but as self-alteration – to become more open. I am not so interested in learning as in changing – changing my mind. The function of art is not to communicate one’s personal ideas or feelings but rather to imitate nature in her manner of operation in its own unfolding pattern (chance operation). How nature works … random purposeless playful form of activity.

The highest purpose is to have no purpose.

Our intention is to affirm this life. Not to bring order out of chaos. Nor to suggest improvements in creation. But simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and one’s desire out of its way and let’s it act of its own accord.

I woudn’t say that I understand the environment. I simply experience it. Zen statement: every day is a beautiful day. Everything is pleasing providing you haven’t got the notion of pleasing and displeasing in you. In Zen they say: if something is boring after 2 minutes, try it for 4; if still boring try it for 8, 16, 32 and so on. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all but very interesting.

I use the I Ching for chance operation. I use it as a discipline in order to free my work from my memory, and from my likes and dislikes.

…perceive reality as art…perceive life as art…

…we have less confidence in the time as it goes in the future. How long the future will be? We wonder whether if we have ruined the silence.

Speaking of Duchamp
Man is the center of things and the center of the center is his feelings and his emotions. Duchamp broke with that.

One more quote not from the movie:
“Which is more musical: a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?” –John Cage

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