Matias Viegener

Class of
School of Critical Studies

In the first year I taught at CalArts there was a lunchtime or afternoon concert by the composer John Cage, who of course was very famous. I had been to a big Cage festival at the 96th St. YMCA when I was in college, and had heard the famous pieces like 4’33, works for prepared piano, and works for toy piano, so I didn’t expect anything new. Cage’s performance was in the main gallery and was durational, with people dropping in and out or passing by. When I came he was sitting bent over a table with some papers fairly quietly, but every now and then he spoke out a number—sort of charming but not very performative, I thought. Later I learned that he was balancing his checkbook and the numbers were called out from that. I think of this as my first CalArts moment.