The Radio-Works of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage

Reception is the first comprehensive examination of how Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage embraced and employed radio in some of their most sophisticated and experimental works between 1942 and 1991.

This includes Rauschenberg’s artworks Broadcast (1959) and Oracle (1962-1965), and Cage’s compositions, Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951), Water Walk (1959), and Variations VII (1966).

Author, Alana Pagnutti’s discussion considers how (influenced by renowned Canadian media philosopher, Marshall McLuhan), they both used the medium of radio to foster and provoke new qualities of experience and elicit the participation of their audiences.

The foreword is written by Angus Carlyle, co-director of Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP) at London College of Communication (UAL).

As the UK prepares to switch off FM radio in favour of DAB (digital radio) between 2017-2022 (a transition happening globally), Pagnutti’s thoughtful and engaging book serves as a timely prompt to re-examine these radio-works before advances in technology change them forever.

‘Pagnutti makes us into fellow witnesses. After finishing the book for the first time I looked at the index, it was like reading a glittering recipe for some magical potion, the very thing I had only just inhaled.’  – Richard Wentworth

To celebrate the launch of this book the first ever UK performance of Cage’s, Water Walk (1959) was hosted by Cafe Oto, London, in July 2017.

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