Vir2Ual Cage was an expansive collaborative project about performing and researching John Cage’s composition Song Books, an encyclopedic collection of 90 musical and theatrical pieces considered a benchmark of American experimental music. The project featured performances, workshops, and seminars in the US and Europe from mid 2009 through late 2012. Highlights included collaborating with young musicians during residencies in Latvia and the Czech Republic, accompanying the renowned Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Mikhail Baryshnikov, and performing excerpts from all of Cage’s “solos for voice” in the epic Long Books.
An eventual goal of Vir2Ual Cage was to reinterpret Song Books with modern technology by developing a vast cumulative archive—containing numerous video recordings of all the work’s pieces, realized by different performers in various contexts—from which infinitely variable renditions would be generated algorithmically and streamed online. To assemble a particular performance, a listener/viewer—who in a sense would become a director/performer—would select a duration and possibly a few other parameters, then activate a specially designed computer program that would produce a unique rendition according to chance operations. This approach would explore further ramifications of Cage’s work, serve as a musicological resource that documented its performances, and forge a path that he himself might have taken were he to compose Song Books today.
While this goal drew considerable interest, and the software underlying it was demonstrated as a proof of concept, by 2014 progress was suspended indefinitely due to a lack of support. Though the artists who launched Vir2Ual Cage have since moved in other directions, they maintain a strong interest in Song Books, and might someday resume working on the project. This site offers a trove of discussions from workshops on interpreting Song Books, recordings and photos from several performances, information about the performable archive, and various documents that trace the project’s activities. Visitors who wish to inquire about future engagements are welcome to contact us via the link below.