A Portland Circus on Cage’s Silence

Oct 3 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM


Free and open to the public. Image: Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage in 1965. Photo by Jack Mitchell

Community Events

In concert with Happy Birthday: A Celebration of Chance and Listening, an exhibition celebrating the 100th Anniversary of John Cage’s birth, The Philip Feldman Gallery at PNCA presents “A Portland Circus on Cage’s Silence.” Created by choreographer Linda Austin and sound artist Seth Nehil, this hour-long dance and music performance draws inspiration from the cacophonous, multifocal happenings of John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham, utilizing chance procedures to spark unexpected simultaneities. A Portland Circus will fill the PNCA Commons with music and movement, dispersing 16 dancers, 10 musicians, recorded sounds and a poet among and around the audience, on balconies and in distant hallways. A score produced through rolls of the die will decide what, where, when and how performers move and play. In true Cage/Cunningham fashion, dance and music are being created separately – the audience will witness the merging of elements for the first time, along with the performers and creators.

Musical fragments derived from Cage’s Melodies of 1950 (dedicated to Josef and Anni Albers), dance phrases structured on a text passage from Silence, field recordings from around Portland, and a “reading-through” of Silence by Lisa Radon will be scattered around PNCA’s resonant Commons space. A larger-than-life, projected stopwatch will coordinate the performers precisely to the score. A Portland Circus will be a chaotic, funny, exciting tribute to one of America’s most important artistic figures.

Linda Austin, Mike Barber, Anne Furfey, Sally Garrido-Spencer, Keyon Gaskin, Tahni Holt, Carla Mann, Tere Mathern, Paige McKinney, Kaj-anne Pepper, Chelsea Petrakis, Kelly Rauer, Danielle Ross, Noelle Stiles, Emily Stone, Robert Tyree, Taka Yamamoto, Lucy Yim

Matt Carlson, Jeff Diteman, Jordan Dykstra, Ben Kates, Phillip Kraft, Catherine Lee, Heather Perkins, Mary Sutton, Tom Thorson, Reed Wallsmith

Field Recordings:
Seth Nehil & PNCA students

Lisa Radon