1st Edition

John Cage Composing, Computing, and Curating

By Sandra Skurvida Copyright 2025
    186 Pages 10 Color & 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This study reassesses Cage’s multifaceted practice from an integrated transdisciplinary perspective, using text as a premise for his musical, visual, lingual, and museal compositions.

    In his compositions, John Cage opened the structures of music, language, and the museum to change perpetuated by chance operations. His correspondences across history with an extended circle of creators, including Erik Satie, Marcel Duchamp, and Henry David Thoreau, among many others, erased single-minded authorship via methodical processing of source material. Foreshadowing ecological recycling, Cage’s late compositions for museums opened perspectives for posthuman mediation in curating and contemporary art. He conceived of anarchy as the coexistence of mutually aiding yet autonomous self-determinate entities. This book introduces Cage to the twenty-first century as a composer whose work intersects different temporalities and modes of being, such as the past and the present, the human and the non-human, and the individual and the collective.

    The book will be of interest to scholars of art history, music, curatorial studies, and museum studies.

    Introduction: Cage and the Posthuman  1. Repetition as Difference: Erik Satie  2. Chance Measures: After Duchamp  3. Music as Text as Music 4. Technologies of Indeterminacy  5. Museum as Instrument  Afterward: Cage and the Contemporary


    Sandra Skurvida teaches in the History of Art Department at FIT-SUNY.