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John Cage: A Mycological Foray

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Foraging for mushrooms with John Cage: writing, art, photography and ephemera from an idiosyncratic chapter in the composer's life

Imagined as an extended mushroom-foraging expedition, John Cage: A Mycological Foray gathers together Cage’s mushroom-themed compositions, photographs, illustrations and ephemera. Indeterminacy Stories and other writings by Cage are interwoven throughout the first volume within a central essay examining Cage’s enduring relationship with mycology. Also included is a transcript of Cage’s 1983 performance, MUSHROOMS et Variationes. The second volume is the inaugural reproduction of Cage’s 1972 portfolio, Mushroom Book, authored in collaboration with illustrator Lois Long and botanist Alexander H. Smith. Readers are thus drawn through the landscape of Cage’s mycologically centred oeuvre and interests, discovering assorted works, images, compositions, philosophies and ephemera, as one might encounter assorted fungi and flora while foraging.

John Cage: A Mycological Foray constitutes a new, idiosyncratic chapter in Cage’s oeuvre, a departure from the composer’s more established narrative. American composer and music theorist John Cage (1912–92) was a pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music and a leading figure of the postwar avant-garde. His influence extended to the realms of dance, poetry, performance and visual art. 224 pages.