The Process That Is the World: Cage/Deleuze/Events/Performances
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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.
Variations II, however, the points and lines are mobile, placed on transparencies that are to be overlapped before the measurements concerning sonic parameters are made. As with BB, there is no tracing-object presented, but the semblance of an ideal event, a potential for emergent form conditioned by the tendencies inhering in the score-process. No essence, no link of resemblance, can bind all the sonic
multiplicity’s constitutive vagueness. Though it is “objectively” under-determined, the indeterminate score is an expression of this perfectly determinate dynamic essence – the connective or productive principle guiding future actualizations in other forms, a reservoir of germinal forms, the identity of difference linking things coming-into-formation. Daniel Charles is also right in that one can sense the coming-into-form, the virtual multiplicity, but it gathers definition only through the
than mere appreciation for the form of a beautiful object. The encounter with the a power for variation gives us a feeling for a form of life – as Cage would say, the work itself is not an object but “a way of being in the world” – or a way of conjugating our powers of production with and within the world’s self-varying, a way of
the unique originator of an action or as a moral agent. Instead, the merging of spirit and matter calls for a thinking of the agency of events themselves, or the agency of specific assemblages (gatherings of things and potentials). Commentators and enthusiasts will often celebrate Cage’s murder of the composer-God and his subsequent “freeing” of performers. By celebrating the newfound agency of performers, however, Cage’s devotees (and, occasionally, Cage himself) fail to truly free themselves
16 Cage, Composition in Retrospect, 61. 17 Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 140.