Summer (Chance Operations – Thank You John Cage)
I recently finished reading Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists. What a wonderful read and a wonderful source of inspiration for artists. The author makes the connection between Cage’s genius and his immersion into eastern philosophy and religion. He read and followed Sri Ramakrishna (Vedanta) and D.T. Suzuki (Zen). The author, Kay Larson, shows how these influences helped shape the mind of the dominant force in 20th century art.
Cage was particularly struck by the Heart Sutra, in which sunyata or emptiness is taught. His insight was to turn art from a mechanism for self expression to a tool for self transformation. Cage employed techniques to engage the teaching of “not-self” in his art. One such technique was the mesostic, a poem where a vertical phrase intersects lines of horizontal text in the middle. He adopted a slightly altered form of an acrostic, a series of lines in which the first letter of each line spells a word, to generate this form. I constructed the skeleton of the poem above using the cotttn mesostic poem generator
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