All Things Cage: Laura Kuhn Presents John Cage’s “Overpopulation and Art" (1991) (Audio)

Oct 22, 2022
Hosted by Laura Kuhn, Executive Director of the John Cage Trust.

Laura Kuhn presents a live recording of John Cage’s performance of his “Overpopulation and Art” (1991) at Stanford University’s “Here Comes Everybody: The Music, Poetry, and Art of John Cage” on January 28, 1992, at which he made one of his last public appearances. When he set out to write this piece, he reached out to his friend Esther Ferrer with a question: What is the future of anarchy? Ferrer’s thoughtful reply is interwoven into Cage’s piece, a through-composed mesostic which is both unusually sensical and at times very funny. Kuhn also speaks of Cage’s “Anarchy” (1988), an earlier work evidencing his and Ferrer’s keen interest in the subject, as well as his Alla ricerca del silenzio perduto, known familiarly as “Il Treno,” a 1978 work for prepared train that traverses Bologna Cage composed in collaboration with Tito Gotti, Juan Hidalgo, and Walter Marchetti in which Ferrer participated as a performer. We listen to an excerpt of “Il Treno” at the close of our program, drawn from the beautiful Basterville Art Book complete with CDs and a DVD derived from the performances published in 2008.