John Cage: Variations V


John Cage: Variations V

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Variations V (1965) 47:13
NDR-Hamburg German Television version 1966 (mono, PCM audio)
with introduction by Hansjörg Pauli

Musicians: John Cage, David Tudor and Gordon Mumma
Choreography: Merce Cunningham
The Merce Cunningham Dance Company: Merce Cunningham, Carolyn Brown, Barbara Lloyd, Sandra Neels, Albert Reid, Peter Saul, Gus Solomons, Jr.
Filmed Projections & Visual Effects: Stan VanDerBeek and Nam June Paik
Lighting: Beverly Emmons
Directed for Film by Arne Arnbom


Variations V (1965) 39:37
Paris version 1966 (stereo, PCM audio only)
Musicians: John Cage, David Tudor and Gordon Mumma

 

Variations V reflects the experimentation and spirit of the 1960s — a collaborative, interactive multi-media event with choreographed dance, elaborate mobile decor, variable lighting, multiple film projection, and live-electronic music often activated by the dancers’ movements.

Filmed in 1966 at the NDR television studio in Hamburg, Germany, it is historically important as one of the few available films of a Cunningham Dance Company performance from the 1960s and the first commercial release of Variations V.

As the dancers performed on stage, their movements interacted with twelve antennas built by Robert Moog and a set of photocells designed by Bell Labs research scientist Billy Klüver in such a way as to trigger the transmission of sounds to a 50-channel mixer whose output was heard from six speakers around the hall. The actual sound sources—a battery of tape recorders and radios—were supervised by Cage, David Tudor and Gordon Mumma. The mise-en-scène was supplemented by a film collage by Stan VanDerBeek that included processed television images by Nam June Paik and footage of the dancers shot by VanDerBeek during rehearsals.

157 minutes of video and music.

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