Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Rockefeller Hall, 374 Asian Studies Lounge Rockefeller Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853
Miki Kaneda of Brown University gives a lecture titled, 'World graphic scores: between the notes of a Transpacific Avant-Garde.' This is part of the Contemporary Japanese Thought speaker series directed by Andrew Campana; he'll be introducing her.
Abstract: What can graphic musical scores tell us about sounds yet to be heard, as well as the stories that may be told about their creators and their worlds? This paper examines two exhibitions of graphic scores, both held in Tokyo in 1962. I offer a historical perspective on the role of graphic scores in locating Japan as a meeting place for a transnational avant-garde.
The first exhibition, titled 4 Composers, took place at the Tokyo Gallery. The second, held at the Minami Gallery, was the Exhibition of World Graphic Scores, which co-organizers critic/artist Kuniharu Akiyama and composer Toshi Ichiyanagi planned to coincide with John Cage and David Tudor’s visit to Japan. In combination, the two exhibitions drew together close to 200 scores by more than forty international artists. Both exhibitions demonstrated active engagement with the contemporary international avant-garde, and strikingly foreshadow experimental artistic practice today. Through a new visual language combined with portability and accessibility, I suggest that graphic scores served as a “performative technology” in the course of producing a new transnational avant-garde.
The two exhibitions attest to the cultivation of an avant-garde that challenges the dominance of Western Europe and North America as the uncontested sites of origin and invention in narratives about experimental practice. At the same time, the Tokyo avant-garde also produced its own structures of power and omissions.
To this end, in revisiting the two exhibitions, I engage in a process of historical projection about the possibilities afforded by imagining an exhibition of “world graphic scores” organized today. Looking between and beyond the notes of the 1962 exhibitions, I ask, what are the limits and possibilities of the exhibition format and the graphic score as a medium? What does the term “world” mean in the context of a contemporary transpacific avant-garde? What can graphic scores tell us about sounds that could have been heard?