Reading as Performance/Reading as Composition

Norman, Paul (2020) Reading as Performance/Reading as Composition. Journal for Artistic Research, 20.

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At the end of ‘Sentences on Conceptual Art’ (1969), Sol LeWitt states: “these sentences comment on art but are not art.” In the same work he also remarks, “If words are used and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature, numbers are not mathematics,” thus creating a paradigm. Is writing or talking about artistic ideas art or not?

… Let’s say for now that it could be.

John Cage famously defined music as the “organisation of sound” perhaps though, reflecting on the origin of the word composition as coming from the Latin componere meaning to “put together”, the ‘organisation of things’, may be a more suitable definition. Not only sound, but all elements of a performance could or perhaps should be organised, put together or composed.

Consider the situation where your (yes, you the readers) organisational decisions matter. Maybe it’s as simple as ‘do I read the text or look at the given example first?’ These decisions matter, they effect what is communicated and when, what knowledge or assumptions are carried and for how long. These decisions are thus meaningful and potentially compositional in nature, establishing a new question. Is all reading compositional?…

…Let’s say for now that it could be.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
29 June 2020Accepted
17 July 2020Published
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Depositing User: Paul Norman
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2020 12:24
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:53

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