Minnesota Forests

excerpted from The John Cage Experiences, by Vincent Tholome, translated from the French by Alexandra Niemi

Minnesota forests (during this experience john cage or his equivalent will in some way tackle forces undoubtedly invisible but real that govern his personal universe, he will have to get a good mic)

In 1935. After they are completely moved in. The young cage couple decides to have a good time in Minnesota. In 1935. You hear louis armstrong on the american radio. You hear it in Minnesota like anywhere else in the country. You would hear it loudly in mr. and mrs. cage’s vehicle if mr. and mrs. cage’s vehicle were. In 1935. In Minnesota. Equipped with a radio. Still john cage is. In 1935. In a car. In Minnesota. He’s still cruising with mrs. cage by his side. He isn’t wearing a seatbelt. In 1935 actually. It rarely occurs to john cage. Composer. To wear a seatbelt. On the other hand it often occurs. In 1935. To mrs. cage to drive the car. Great. So it’s 1935. So we’re with john cage. Sitting in a car next to his wife. He has

(let’s say that john cage or his equivalent has a table and that he has small objects of no importance on that table)

opened the passenger-side window. He’s opened the window on his side. And while in 1935 while john cage. Passenger-side. Breathes in the Minnesota air. Mrs. cage. His wife. Shifts to second gear. Then with a jolt avoids a chicken nest in the dirt. Mrs. cage. A superb woman. She pushes her sunglasses back up with her finger. She does it while john cage. Her husband. A superb man as well yes. Actually. Well. Let’s say he has something running through his mind. He has a louis armstrong tune stuck in his head. Maybe he hears it on the radio. Maybe if he has a car radio he hears

(over the course of the experience chance john cage or his equivalent will make the inaudible become audible through the mic at intervals determined by chance)

it on the radio but I don’t know. I don’t know if mr. and mrs. cage’s car. In 1935. Is equipped with a car radio. I don’t know either if cars. Even american ones. In 1935. Are already. Equipped. With car radios. I don’t know. I don’t know. Very well if. It is. Let’s say it’s likely that. In his car. In Minnesota. In 1935. John cage. The composer. Is more likely to have a louis armstrong tune stuck in his head than playing on the radio. In his car. While mrs. cage. His wife. Veers slightly to the right. In the woods. The dense and fresh forest of Minnesota. And. While she does it. While john cage has nothing but a louis armstrong tune in his head. While he thinks nothing at all of this thing. The hole amassing for some

(he will then delicately brush a feather for example, to make the deafening sound of its different filaments heard) 

time now in his head. Actually. For some time. In 1935. The composer john cage. Has had a hole in his head. A black hole that absorbs him. Because the fact is that. In 1935. A black hole is eating away at john cage. It does it without his wife knowing. That’s why. That’s why. In 1935. Just after his marriage. John cage. The composer. Frowns. That’s why. Actually. Just after their marriage. The relations between mr. and mrs. cage are not always in good standing. But here. In Minnesota. John cage takes advantage. Oh yes. Oh yes. And. While john cage takes advantage of the forests. Of Minnesota. In the car. Something unexpected. Another experience. A new experience. Comes over john cage. In a minute it will even force mrs. cage to stop the car. It will even oblige mrs. cage. A

(he will hit a miniscule pebble with a toothpick etc. all kinds of things that john cage or his equivalent will take great care to determine before the experience)

superb woman. Even later. Even much later. Looking under the nose of john cage. Her husband. With great attention. In fact probably with disgust and attention but let’s just say with attention. Let’s just say with attention. We don’t get into details. We don’t get into details. So that. The rest of the way. To Minnesota. She’ll worry quietly about john cage. Her husband. So that. At night. On the stopover. At john cage’s friend’s house. At the house of a Minnesota friend. She’ll have the worst night of her life. I’ll have the worst night of my life. She will say. Mrs. cage will say. The wife of john cage. The composer. But later. Much later. In New York City. In a 3rdfloor apartment. In front of the photograph where we see john cage. The composer. In Minnesota. At a friend’s house. His hand curiously placed on his face. In fact his hand is in the exact place where something. One day.

(of course as in all the john cage experiences john cage may be alone or two or three for example one takes charge of the text the others of the inaudible sounds)

A thing from Minnesota. Entered john cage’s car while mrs. was driving. It was in 1935. Says mrs. Mrs. cage. We were in the woods of Minnesota. Yes we were breathing the fresh air of the Minnesota forests. That’s what it was. That’s exactly what it was. When a thing from Minnesota flew in through john cage’s. Wide open. Passenger-side. Window. And hit john cage under his nose. Though. It left no trace on john cage’s face. Though. It marked john cage profoundly. It was a black thing. Light. Very hard. She says. Mrs. cage says. Much later. It hit john cage under his nose. Then it must have gone off again. Let’s say it went off. There. It went off again. She says. Mrs. cage says. While offering chocolate chip 

(while the experience is in process the roles can naturally be exchanged there is no permanent position in the john cage experiences) 

cookies from the acme store on the corner. All the same. When her now old and gnarled fingers have. Some difficulty. Tearing and unwrapping the cellophane. She decides to get up and use a pair of scissors. John cage’s. John cage’s. From. Precisely. 1935. When. As a young married couple. Mr. and mrs. cage visited the acme store on the corner once. They needed

(that way the inaudible may take place at the same time as the text as well as the silences or even intervene only in the blanks by choice truly by choice)

a pair of scissors. They needed to cut some strings. They were setting up in New York City. They were taking things out of boxes. Like anyone. Like you and me. Like you and me mr. and mrs. cage. They will buy them later. A little after john cage’s black hole. Forgotten for some time. In New York City. In the apartment. On the 3rdfloor. In an acme box. Still unwrapped. One way or another leaves its hiding place. One way or another it always found its path. Mrs. cage. Says later. Quite a bit later. Picking the thread back up somewhere. Invisible. Uncuttable. She adds. Uncuttable. She insists. Binding it to john

(the number of inaudible interventions being determined haphazardly but not more than 8)

cage. To john cage’s mind. To our misfortune. She concludes. Yes to our misfortune. Truly. Truly. Another cookie? Another cookie? No? Really? Really? Goodbye. Goodbye. She says again. Mrs. cage does. Finally cutting the radio. Cutting it short with incisive turns. Fiery. And yet so joyous. Mrs. cage says. Of louis armstrong. The jazzman. The trumpet player. Not her husband. A sick man. Truly.

Advertisements