Merce Cunningham speaks at Barnard College, 1988-02-17
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Cunningham, Merce (Speaker)Genter, Sandra (Host)Barnard College. Dept. of Dance (Host)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1988-02-17
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTC-A 1659
TopicsAtlas, CharlesCage, JohnCage, John -- Voiceless essayCaplan, ElliotCunningham, MerceMerce Cunningham Dance CompanyCoast zone (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Points in space (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Story (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Torse (Choreographic work : Cunningham)ChoreographyComputer musicDance in motion pictures, television, etcMusic and dance
NotesContent: Contains Merce Cunningham's speech at Barnard College as part of the Cynthia Sue Green Visiting Artist's Series; following a screening of Elliot Caplan and Merce Cunningham's Points in space (1986).Content: Title, date, and location provided by cataloger based on handwritten note on original container and cassette, and audition.Content: Handwritten note on original container and cassette: "Merce Cunningham at Barnard College ; 2/17/88 ; mono".Venue: Recorded at Barnard College in, New York, New York, 1988 February 17.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 1 audiocassette (64 minutes) : analogSound quality is mostly good to fair; there is a recording hiss throughout and the recording volume is low at times.
DescriptionStreaming file 1, side 1: Begins abruptly, Sandra Genter introduces the evening's event featuring Merce Cunningham, ca. 0:00-1:56; [ca. 0:36-1:00, recording gap while Elliot Caplan and Merce Cunningham's film, Points in space (1986) is screened]; Cunningham speaks about the making of Points in space with Elliot Caplan in London at the BBC studio, including his consideration of the camera movements while choreographing the work; referring to earlier collaborations with Charles Atlas, he speaks about learning about how filming dance differs from dance on stage; he remarks on how exhaustive it is for the dancers [in his Merce Cunningham Dance Company] while filming dance and the difficulty of re-shooting sequences; difficult multiple takes in the filming of Coast zone (1983); the origins of his interest in filming dance and an overview of his projects with Atlas and Caplan; he describes filming and design details for Points in space; the difficulty of lighting dance for filming; more about how he considers the camera while choreographing and then how the introduction of the actual camera further impacts his choreographic choices; briefly, his process in adapting a filmed work for the stage; his interest in video as a medium; [inaudible question from an audience member, ca. 21:20-21:30]; Cunningham speaks about the music for Points in space, John Cage's Voiceless essay; in response to audience question, he tells an anecdote about an English translation of the I Ching [Yi jing; ancient Chinese divination text]; he speaks about Cage's, and his own, use of the I Ching in composition; more about his use of chance operations and timing as a choreographic method; [inaudible question from an audience member, ca. 30:38-31:17]; Cunningham describes his thinking about the mechanics of human movement and how he applies this thinking process to his choreography; he gives an overview of his choreographic process, including his use of chance and timing; the challenge of creating physical continuity between the chance ordered movement phrases and how this process leads to discovery in movement possibilities; [inaudible question from an audience member, ca. 41:50-42:06]; Cunningham speaks about the working process of teaching and rehearsing movement with his dancers; briefly, the process of "transferring" movement to his dancers for Torse (1976); ends abruptly.
Streaming file 2, side 2: Begins abruptly, Merce Cunningham gives several examples of how using chance operations to order movements leads to choreographic discovery and complexity, especially in Torse; he speaks about how Albert Einstein's idea of "no fixed points in space" influenced his own treatment of the space on stage; [question from an audience member about Cunningham's consideration of the audience, ca. 6:24-6:37]; Cunningham speaks about touring his work as outreach to new audiences; a brief anecdote about teaching at Black Mountain College; the circumstances that led to his first event [during the 1964 world tour]; briefly, how Events allow his Company to perform in unique spaces for new audiences; [inaudible question from an audience member, ca. 11:57-12:13]; Cunningham briefly speaks about Robert Rauschenberg as a collaborator; aspects of Rauschenberg's production design for Story (1963); an anecdote about a recent performance in Delhi and a stagehand's memory of the Rauschenberg set from Story; the indeterminate choreographic structure of Story; how the physical exhaustion of touring made the performing of Story very difficult for his dancers; an anecdote about an accident during a performance of Winterbranch (1964) due to lighting; briefly, Jasper Johns as a collaborator and tells an anecdote about a set of costumes that Johns had dyed; briefly, the origin of Andy Warhol's pillows [in RainForest (1968)]; ends abruptly.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 933582899NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20868030Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 98bb1b40-b94f-0133-3c76-3c07547a230f
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