Call Dis Kris/ Feb 2019 John Cage, Levi Strauss and Krauss

1.Krauss seems to assume a pseudo-Structuralist line in the mere fact that she is talking about the ‘discourse of originality’ (157; cf. 161, 168) concerning the Avant-Garde, and the ‘grid’. And then, perhaps there is an almost Cage-ian sense of ‘silence’ (as not being utter silence) in her discussion of the visual ‘grid’ or ‘grid-scored surface [as] the image of an absolute beginning’ (158)? Relatedly, Krauss does an interesting thing – she reveals how ‘originality’ is actually the fiction that conceals the fact of ‘repetition’ (160-61). So, by pitting ‘the every present reality of the copy’ against the ‘theme of originality’ (162) is she is inviting us to reflect on the contingency of our visual paradigms? And is this at all like what we noted in Cage, and even in a way like what Levi-Strauss does for, say, ‘kinship practices’?

2. Maybe her attention to the relationship between signification and spontaneity per Rodin/Gilpin/Austen… sounds a bit like Cage’s ‘structured indeterminacy’ – the sketch-like mark ‘had to be prepared for through the utmost calculation’ (167). Then she reports on the passage from the discourse of ‘originality’ to the more postmodern ‘discourse of the copy’ (170). So we come to a similar question as above: Is she clearly valuing the ‘demythologizing’ critique of avant-garde and modernism that this offers?

3. Sticking with a Cage comparison: Is his project similar to Krauss’ in terms of how his view of silence/sound seems, on one hand, to harbor the cult of ‘originality’, and yet on the other perhaps seems to be over that and already recognizing the ‘repetitious’ nature of the sonic ‘original’? Would Cage’s position be something Krauss embraces or critiques? And/or, are they both straddling a fence in a way (wanting ‘originality’ but not quite believing in any visually-ontological ‘original’)?