John Cage’s Musicircus is a large-scale simultaneous performance event involving musicians, dancers, visual artists, poets and a pony. Audiences are invited to move around the BMW Edge anytime from dusk to dawn to explore works by local and international artists all being performed together at the one time.
The very first Musicircus in Melbourne is based on a John Cage event first performed in 1967. His score for the work was a series of instructions:
“I have not made detailed directions for Musicircus. You simply bring together under one roof as much music (as many musical groups and soloists) as practical under the circumstances. It should last longer than ordinary concerts, start at 7 or 8 in the evening, and continuing, say, to midnight. Arrange performers on platforms or within roped-off areas. There must be plenty of space for the audience to walk around. If you have more groups than places, make a schedule: Group 1 in Place A from 7-9:30; Group 23 in Place A from 9:45-midnight. Etc. There should be food on sale and drinks (as at a circus). Dancers and acrobats.”
John Cage, letter dated June 6, 1973
For the Festival, Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey have taken these instructions to create a contemporary interpretation of the ideas of chance, rigour and collaboration across art forms as inspired by John Cage, Merce Cunningham and their collaborators. Using the architecture of Cage’s work, and the architecture of the building, over 200 performers will come together for John Cage’s Musicircus. Drop in for an unforgettable simultaneous performance moment or join the all-night event marathon where you never know who’ll be performing when.
Created by Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey
In Collaboration with David Wells, Meredith Rogers, Sally Smith, Kim Lawler & Kate Kantor
Lighting Design Niklas Pajanti
Production Management Emma Anderson
Technology Integration Jesse Stevens
Created with the assistance of David Tyndall and Dancehouse
With the generous support of the artists involved.
The full program for each hour of this twelve hour event can be downloaded here.ProgramNotes_Musicircus
We released each hour of the program on the hour.
The juxtaposition of events was decided through a random process we devised called The Card Party which we held in September. Each artistic event was assigned a card, and each time/space was assigned a card. We then spent 8 hours selecting cards from each pile, associating each artistic event with a time and space.