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John Cage: How to Get Started

Dare to think aloud in front of a live audience and your favorite literary celebrities. In honor of John Cage’s centennial, PEN World Voices and Symphony Space join forces with the John Cage Trust and Slought Foundation to revive, for the first time ever in New York, John Cage’s 1989 How To Get Started—a collaborative experiment that explores improvisation and the origin of ideas. Taking the stage with ten note cards, Cage shuffled the deck and spoke ‘off the cuff’ for no more than three minutes on each idea. His monologue was recorded in collaboration with engineers and looped back as the next card was addressed, creating a complex acoustic layering of his ideas. In this daylong ‘happening,’ minds from across the arts perform their own realizations. As an audience member, you are invited to contribute your own thoughts to the official archive of How to Get Started. Before you come, visit howtogetstarted.org or the permanent installation at Slought to familiarize yourself with the project.

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