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
Rights StatementThis item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).
Item timeline of events