All Things Cage: Laura Kuhn and Victoria Miguel
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Hosted by Laura Kuhn, Executive Director of the John Cage Trust.
Victoria Miguel is a UK-based writer, teacher, publisher, and producer, who fell in love with John Cage while in college during an art history lecture at the University of Edinburgh. Kuhn and Miguel have had a long relationship, since after her graduation, Miguel moved to New York to work with Kuhn at the John Cage Trust while simultaneously completing a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies at the New School University, her thesis being an imaginative exploration of the work of Cage and Samuel Beckett through their shared interest in chess. We’ve chosen to speak at length here about her digital version of John Cage’s Reunion, a 1968 composition involving a game of chess played on an electrified chessboard constructed by Cage’s colleague, Lowell Cross. The initial realizations of Reunion were initially played Cage against Marcel Duchamp and, in a second round, Cage again Duchamp’s second wife, Teeny, at the Ryerson Institute in Toronto on Tues., March 5, 1968, incorporating live music triggered by the players’ chess moves as performed by Cross, David Tudor, David Behrman, and Gordon Mumma. Miguel’s digital version of Reunion was first heard within Miguel’s play, Laqueria, which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013. And if all this weren’t quite enough, in 2020, Victoria began a PhD in English Literature at the University of Glasgow on the subject of John Cage’s literary works.
All Things Cage is a weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world. If you’d like to propose a guest or a topic for a future program, write directly to Laura at email@example.com. She’d love to hear from you.
The late Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kenneth Silverman once described his Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage (Knopf, 2012) as the hardest book he’d ever written. This was because, as he put it, pick up any rock and there’s John Cage! Indeed, Cage was not only a world-renowned composer, numbering among his compositions the still notoriously tacet 4’33”, but a ground-breaking poet, a philosopher, a chess master who studied with Marcel Duchamp, a macrobiotic chef, a devotee of Zen Buddhism, a prolific visual artist, and an avid and pioneering mycologist. He was also life partner to the celebrated American choreographer, Merce Cunningham, for nearly half a century, and thus well known in the world of modern dance.
No wonder, then, that nearly everyone who encounters the man or his life’s work has something interesting to say about John Cage!