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From my perspective (and I very much do not want to speak for John on this; he may agree, he may disagree), one of the things I hope to take away from my work on Imaginary John Cage is a broadened consideration of Cage’s work in various contexts.

“Work” is a simple word that simultaneously reveals and hides complex meanings. It is a noun, representing physical and virtual objects (A work of art), conceptual objects (I did the work), and a tangle of location / place / space (I am at work). It is also a verb, describing labor toward some purpose (I work all day).

Varying contexts allow us to consider the ways in which we might simultaneously engage multiple meanings of “work”. For instance, installing screws and bolts in a prepared piano is work; but do we consider it to be part of the work titled Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano?

from http://facweb.cs.depaul.edu/sgrais/prepared_piano.htm

What about the chart that tells us how to prepare the piano? Is it part of the work?

from http://facweb.cs.depaul.edu/sgrais/prepared_piano.htm

Imaginary John Cage no. 1 for 12 Video Games will apply a gaming context to some of the concepts that John and I have taken from Cage’s music and writings. I find video games wonderfully complicating; they are full of divided subjectivity, merciless abstraction, rigid hegemony, and a sometimes-not-so-subtle perspective on the concept of work.

In keeping with that context, here is a performance of 4’33” done in the Super Nintendo game Mario Paint and uploaded by OHNOinc.

YouTube also has a few versions of 4’33” done in UnFun Games’ Mario Paint Composer, PC software that emulates that portion of the SNES original and is free to download here. The possibilities of using it to recreate certain of Cage’s other works is intriguing.

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