John Cage on Silence
Marjorie Perloff on Cage and Cunningham: Constructed Anarchy. A bit from the article gives us the keystone to the concept of structured openness, structured performance in which the performers make as many or more decisions as the composer:
When in June 2010 I had the chance to see Roaratorio performed at the Disney Concert Hall—a beautiful Roaratorio but no longer graced by the presence on stage of Merce or by the actual speaking voice of John Cage—what seemed especially remarkable was the tight formal structure of a composition once billed (both in its radio and dance incarnations) as an anarchic Irish Circus, bursting with random sounds and unforeseen events. For, however differential the leg, arm, and torso movements of the individual dancers (sometimes in pairs or threes, sometimes alone), all are metonymically related in a network of family resemblances, and all are, as the charts show, mathematically organized. Yet wasn’t it Cage who defined his music as “purposeless play”—“not an attempt to bring order out of chaos . . . but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and one’s desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord”? And wasn’t it Cunningham who insisted that dance “is not meant to represent something else, whether psychological, literary, or aesthetic. It relates much more to everyday experience, daily life, watching people as they move in the streets”?