Skip to Content

John Cage
One11 and 103

August 2 – September 13, 2012
1:00 pm to 11:00 PM Daily
High Line Channel 14, 14th Street Passage, on the High Line at West 14th Street

High Line Art, presented by Friends of the High Line, and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) celebrate the John Cage Centennial with a special outdoor presentation of Cage’s film and sound composition One11 and 103 (1992) at the High Line. This screening marks the launch of the new series High Line Channel 14, which presents a program of films, videos, and sound installations in the 14th Street Passage, on the High Line at West 14th Street.

One of the most celebrated and iconoclastic figures of the American musical avant-garde, Cage was instrumental in reshaping post-war Western music. Cage’s radical innovations in composition and theory—the concept of chance and “found” sound as integral compositional devices, the creation of musical structures based on rhythm rather than tonality—were influential in altering traditional concepts of musical interpretation.

One11 and 103 is made up of the film One11, the eleventh work in the Number Pieces series, and the sound composition 103. In this combined piece, abstractions of light travel across and into space created by Cage. Shot entirely in black and white, a camera pans across the blank wall of a Munich television studio, illuminated by soft cloud-like patches of light which drift across the view of the camera. To describe One11 Cage wrote, “One11 is a film without subject. There is light but no persons, no things, no ideas about repetition and variation. It is meaningless activity which is nonetheless communicative, like light itself, escaping our attention as communication because it has no content to restrict its transforming and informing power.”

Of the sound composition 103, Cage wrote, “103 is an orchestral work. It is divided into seventeen parts. The lengths of the seventeen parts are the same for all the strings and the percussion. The woodwinds and the brass follow another plan. Following chance operations, the number of wind instruments changes for each of the seventeen parts.” On the High Line, Cage’s arrangement in light, darkness, and probability will illuminate the High Line’s passageway at West 14th Street and initiate a series of chance encounters with visitors to the park.

Photos by Austin Kennedy.

John Cage

John Cage (b. 1912, California – d. 1992, New York) was a composer, writer, philosopher, and visual artist. Cage was elected to the Institute of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1968, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1978. He received an honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in 1986, and was also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was a fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan University; composer-in-residence at the University of California, Davis; and the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. Cage was the musical director for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and the author of numerous books, including Silence (1973), Empty Words (1979), Writings Through Finnegans Wake (1979) and Themes and Variations (1982).

Program Partner

Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world’s leading nonprofit resources for video art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of video art and digital art. EAI’s core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical media works by artists. EAI’s activities include viewing access, educational services, extensive online resources, and public programs such as artists’ talks, exhibitions and panels. The Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and also features extensive materials on exhibiting, collecting and preserving media art:


High Line Art is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. High Line Art is made possible by Donald R. Mullen, Jr, with additional support from Vital Projects Fund, Inc. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. One1 and 103 is presented in coordination with the John Cage Trust.

Back to top