Chapter 7 explored a number of affinities between Cage’s scores for magnetic tape in the 1950s and William Burroughs’s experiments with “cut-ups.” But the deeper connection between Cage and Burroughs is that both practiced the aesthetic of collage. In 20thcentury art, collage was arguably the chief alternative to-indeed the very antithesis ofthe Gesamtkunstwerk. And even though collage is a practice we tend to associate primarily with the visual arts (where it originated), its modus operandi is readily observable in the performing arts as well. Collage is a principle organizing strategy in the
work of Elizabeth LeCompte and The Wooster Group, the plays of Heiner Mueller, the theater pieces of Robert Wilson, the choreography of Pina Bausch, the music of John Zorn, and the films of Godard, Kubrick, and Makavejev. But the earliest-and arguably, still most influential-practitioner of collage in performance is Merce Cunningham. Collage has been central to the work of Cunningham and his collaborators-to both their process and their product-from the very beginning.