John Cage Performs James Joyce

Takahiko Iimura
USA, 1991, DIGITAL, 15 MIN


An extremely rare documentation of a private performance of John Cage, one of the leading avant-garde composers of the 20th century, who created “Writing for the Fifth Time through Finnegans Wake” using I-Ching chance operation: Chinese fortune telling. Here Cage performs in front of a video camera operated by Takahiko Iimura, while he transforms the text of a modern literature classic by James Joyce into Cagian music in three ways: reading, singing, and whispering.

  • A pioneering figure in the New York and Japanese film and video undergounds, Takahiko Iimura has had a tremendous impact upon the development of experimental cinema in both the US and Japan. Iimura's work in video has concentrated on deconstructing the language of video, especially video's power to obscure the author of the image, through the audience's immediate acceptance of what is shown on screen as true.