Explicit Music

Tiny Nothings — John Cage in Zagreb 1985

April 7-11, 2019 @ Zagreb

Within the Music Biennale Zagreb from 2003 to 2011 Multimedia Institute has presented leading figures of contemporary music and theory like the ensemble Zeitkratzer, Christian Fennesz, Maja Ratkje, Ikue Mori, Stephan Mathieu, Peter Szendy, Jonathan Sterne, Mladen Dolar, and many others.  Also, from 2012 on Multimedia Institute has organized a project dedicated to Luc Ferrari and his seminal piece Presque Rien No. 1 recorded in 1968 in Vela Luka on the Dalmatian island of Korčula, including musicians Lawrence English and Thomas Köner, filmmakers Ana Hušman and Davor Sanvincenti or the writer László Krasznahorkai.
At the MBZ 2019 we will initiate Tiny Nothings — a new project and tribute to one of the most iconic events within Biennale’s history: a world-premiere of John Cage’s composition A Collection of Rocks on April 19, 1985 at the Lisinski Concert Hall.
To quote Cage’s 1985 introductionary notes in full: “In 1982 I was asked by André Dimanche to design a cover for Pierre Lartigue’s translation of my Mushroom Book. This is a part of his series of fifteen books called Editions Ryoan-ji, all of which are paperbacked with a paper that reminds one of raked sand. My suggestion for the cover of my book that I draw around fifteen stones (fifteen is the number of stones in the Ryoan-ji garden in Kyoto) placed at I Ching-determined points on a grid the size of the cover plus the flaps was accepted.
In January of 1983 when I went to the Crown Point Press to make etchings I took the same fifteen stones with me, but soon found that what can be done with pencil on paper cannot be done with needle on copper. The mystery produced by pencils disappeared, reappearing only on copper when the number of stones was multiplied (225:15 x 15; 3375:15 x 15 x 15).
I have had for some years a large indoor garden in New York. I was encouraged by a 20 x 20 foot pyramidal skylight and eleven large windows on the east and south. There are now over two hundred plants of various kinds and in among them I have placed rocks large and small brought by me from my tours or brought sometimes in a car from the New River in Virginia by Ray Kass or from the Duke Forest in North Carolina by Irwin Kremen, after I had chosen them in situ. Though when I was younger I couldn’t live with sculpture, now I find that I love the immobility and calm of a stone in place.
Outside the eleven windows are the noises of Sixth Avenue. They continue all night. I have found a way of translating burglar alarms (a constant unchanging insistent sound in New York) into Brancusi-like images while I am sleeping. This has led me to find pleasure not only as I long have in the unpredictable ever-changing sounds of metropolitan traffic, but also in the immobile never-stopping sounds associated with modern convenience and comfort (the refrigerator, the humidifier, the computer, feedback, etc.).
Picking up Salt Seller, the Writings of Marcel Duchamp, I read: Musical Sculpture: Sounds lasting and leaving from different places and forming a sounding sculpture which lasts. That is what I mean A Collection of Rocks to be. It is for Marcel Duchamp that we never forget him who, as he said, must have been fifty years ahead of his time.
There are fifteen rocks. Each is made up of three, four, or five sounds. There are sixty-five points in the performing space. There are twenty-two different sound-producing groups of musicians, each group divided into two parts so that a tone can be made to last, the second group spelling the first when the first is losing is breath. There are no conductors, each group has two chronometers. Each group performs three times from three different points in space. The piece lasts twenty minutes. Versions may be performed which last for a longer time (11/2, 2, 21/2, 3 times as long as the present version). The musicians must move in order to play from a different position. The audience is free to move about. We are back in the world of traffic, at home, that is to say, in our own time.”
Artists kicking off Tiny Nothings in 2019 — Taylor Deupree, Bruce McClure, Alex Mendizabal, Hrvoslava Brkušić & Hrvoje Nikšić — do share many of Cage’s aesthetic predilections and we hope that their search for a novel plasticity of sound, inbetween geology and music, will equally respond to the imperatives of our present time.

— Sunday : April 7, 2019 | Zagreb Dance Center
19:00 Hrvoslava Brkušić & Hrvoje Nikšić : POLISSFERA
20:00 Bruce McClure
— Monday : April 8, 2019 | Lauba
22:00 Taylor Deupree
— Tuesday : April 9, 2019 | Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
12:00 Alex Mendizabal : PLAY A LISTEN
21:30 Bruce McClure
— Thursday : April 11, 2019 | Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall
17:00 Alex Mendizabal : SOAP OPERA

— more info at Music Biennale Zagreb web