Idea Blog

Doug Aitken Interviews on Creative Process

Posted on: January 9th, 2013 | 0 Comments

by Elizabeth Long Lingo

Interested in hearing Jack White, Beck, James Murphy talk about their creative process? Check out multi-media artist Doug Aitken’s new installation of filmed conversations:

Doug Aiken and Friends: What is the Source of Creativity?

Hat tip to Curb Scholar, Keith Berquist

2012 Boot Camp–Asking Experts to Translate their Practice

Posted on: December 28th, 2012 | 0 Comments

by Elizabeth Long Lingo

One of the challenges in offering a creative practice boot camp is helping experts translate their everyday practice into teachable hands-on workshops that can engage participants from all backgrounds–faculty, staff, students–and from all parts of the University. In my research, and as I’ve developed my programs at Vanderbilt I regularly ask “experts” to describe, illuminate, teach their actual creative “practice”—the joys and difficult challenges they face, the complexities and tradeoffs they need to manage, the implicit assumptions that shape the way they work.  The “teaching” approach is so different than the request for the typical keynote speech or presentation of information—which often preferences success and final results over process and wisdom gained over time.

As a society I feel we rarely ask individuals to do this, and as a result both experts and “students” of all ages miss out on a wonderful opportunity to translate, reflect, and learn.  So, I offer my great thanks to all the presenters for embracing this invitation to share and translate your practice.

Great thanks to this year’s presenters for sharing their knowledge and wisdom, Empathic Interviewing (Jacki Lyden, NPR);Improvisation (Second City Improv); Storytelling (Minton Sparks), Brainstorming (Barry Kudrowitz); Looking/Thinking by Analogy (Kerry Ruef, The Private Eye); and Data Visualization (Eric Rodenbeck, Stamen Design).

Studio CRB's First Release to iTunes

Posted on: December 28th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Darker Days (iTunes)

Written and Performed by Emma Grager

Produced, Mixed and Recorded by Scott Marquart & Branden Sanders at Studio CRB

The first of many to come.

Join the Party for Cage this Week

Posted on: March 26th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Join the party for American composer John Cage as Vanderbilt University and VORTEX continue with a series of Cage-inspired “HAPPENINGS” at the Sarratt Student Center. From noon to 1:00 it will be a collage of turntables, drumming, and dance (and maybe a little spoken word, to boot!).

Later in the week: a panel discussion on John Cage and collaborator Merce Cunningham. Plus: Cunningham Dance Classes, a mini Cage-Symposium, a MusiCircus, and the grand finale: VORTEX percussion joins forces with former dancers of the MERCE CUNNINGHAM DANCE COMPANY on April 1st.

500 seats. 500 lucky people. 100 year celebration. 1 performance=a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Vanderbilt University
Blair School of Music


Singing Fingers

Posted on: March 19th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Amelia Winger-Bearskin, Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Vanderbilt University in the area of Video and Performance Art, received an innovation grant for her course project, Singing Fingers.

Singing Fingers will create an interactive sound art instrument using iPads, played with the help of campus participants and using sound samples of the campus environment. This will be one of three planned projects using iPads as interactive instruments for live performance planned over the course of the next three years on the Vanderbilt main campus as well as locations around Nashville.


Winger Bearskin’s Portable Media class is shown rapid prototyping their ideas for new iPad apps.



Posted on: March 19th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Imagine a concert created out of fire, sea shells, water, and air.

CELEBRATE JOHN CAGE: Sunday, April 1st and throughout the preceding two weeks at Vanderbilt University.

Blair School of Music/Ingram Hall 7pm MusiCircus 8pm VORTEX concert.

Information: 615-322-7651



A Thought from John Cage

Posted on: March 19th, 2012 | 0 Comments

All around the world, centennial celebrations are taking place to honor renegade composer John Cage. At Vanderbilt, students will be able to take part in Happenings, dance classes, a panel discussion on music and modern dance, attend a Cage symposium, attend a musicircus (“You won’t hear a thing. You’ll hear everything!”) Go to the Curb Creative Campus site and look up VORTEX for a complete listing of events!

Here is one of my favorite thoughts from John Cage: “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.”

CELEBRATE JOHN CAGE! Attend the Cage concert on April 1, Blair School of Music. Want more information? Call: 615-322-7651



Quote of the Day

Posted on: March 19th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Celebrating JOHN CAGE on his 100th birthday! Here’s a Cage quote for the day: “Percussion music is revolution!”

Happenings Begin This Week!

Posted on: March 19th, 2012 | 0 Comments

With the big centennial birthday bash coming up for John Cage on April 1, the Vanderbilt campus will see more and more of Blair Percussion VORTEX and their musical friends. Happenings—think of them as cousins to flashmobs—will be occurring in many places including the Baker building, the Commons, Sarratt Student Center, and at a variety of unknown locations. Dancers, multiple turntables, Chinese drummers, hand drummers—a real assortment of performers—will be creating sound and image collages. We hope students will take an interest in this and get involved. Celebrate John Cage! Celebrate the all-sounds orchestra

VORTEX Program

Posted on: January 25th, 2012 | 0 Comments


A historic photomontage assembled by cinematographer David Perry, featuring John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and the artists with whom they worked, precedes the program. Thanks to the Merce Cunningham Trust, the John Cage Trust, the Other Minds Archive, and RadiOM for their generosity in making this program possible.

Speech Radio (1955)

Audio clip: KPFA Radio, Berkeley, California, Charles Amirkhanian, August 12, 1992

Suite for Toy Piano (1948 Black Mountain College)

Fads & Fancies in the Academy (1940) (A Gentle Satire on Progressive Education)

  • 1. Axioms
    • 1a. The pupil is eager to learn
    • 1b. The pupil is constitutionally lazy
    • 1c. We deal with the total child
  • 2. A Short Historical Sketch
    • 2a. Reactionaries
    • 2b. Revolutionaries—Pitched Battle
  • 3. A Short Historical Sketch
    • 3a. Pessimist
    • 3b. Optimist


CHOREOGRAPHY: Marsha Barsky & Erin Law in collaboration with dancers
“Lost” work, created by John Cage and choreographer Marian Van Tuyl, Mills College, Oakland,
California. Restaged by Barsky and Law, informed by Van Tuyl’s personal notes, historic 16mm film
footage, and conversations with archivist Joanna G. Harris, PhD. Fads and Fancies is dedicated to
Marian Van Tuyl, her daughter Gail Campbell, Executor of the Van Tuyl Estate, and Ms Harris, who is
present for tonight’s performance.

Film clip: Ecoute (Listen) John Cage interviewed, 1992; Producer: Jacques Bidou; Director: Miroslav
Sebestik. Courtesy Jacques Bidou and Centre Georges Pompidou, JBA Productions, Paris.


Inlets (1977)

Film clip: I’ve Got a Secret CBS Television, February 24, 1960, John Cage, contestant and performer. Courtesy Laura Kuhn
and The John Cage Trust.

Water Walk (1959) for solo television performer




Film Clip: Mondays with Merce™ Excerpts from Episode 015 The Prepared Mind: John Cage and David Tudor. Commentary from Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Gordon Mmma, and Christian Wolff. Courtesy of Kevin Carr and the Merce Cunningham Trust.



And former dancers of the


CHOREOGRAPHY: Merce Cunningham STAGED BY: Jennifer Goggans Amores

The event idea was originally prompted by our being presented with an unusual performing area in
Vienna, 1964: an open room with the audience on three sides (space); a situation where an intermission
would have been awkward and uncomfortable (time); and a “stage” not equipped nor allowing for
conventional arrangements of musicians, lighting, exits and entrances, curtains, etc. In order to be
flexible in our approach to these, the décor has been the building itself with whatever appurtenances it
might contain. If we want to be flexible, then we must not preclude the theatre as it has been known and
is still commonly used—a playing space in front of spectators. –Merce Cunningham

A MinEvent is an uninterrupted sequence of excerpts from the work of Merce Cunningham. Each
MinEvent is unique. This MinEvent was constructed and staged by Jennifer Goggans expressly for this
performance with VORTEX. This performance is made possible with the permission and support of the
Merce Cunningham Trust.

Amores (1943)

Child of Tree (1975) layered with

The Wonderful Widow of 18 Springs (1942) & Nowth Upon Nacht (1984)

Credo In Us (1942) Originally subtitled for a satirical dance drama as A Suburban Idyll