49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs (1977)
A complete video realization by Don Gillespie, Roberta Friedman and Gene Caprioglio.
NTSC Region 0, 2.0 Dolby Digital
Total time: 2 hr 7 min.
John Cage’s artwork, “49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs”, appeared in the October 6, 1977 Rolling Stone magazine – a gala issue celebrating their move to New York.
He constructed his “waltzes” through chance operations as a series of 49 multi-colored triangles superimposed on the Hagstrom map of New York City. Later, he published a score for “performer(s) or listener(s) or record maker(s)” with the exact street locations depicted by each point of the triangle.
Cage was an inveterate New Yorker. After Cage’s death in 1992, Don Gillespie, his long time colleague, decided to celebrate his memory by videotaping each of the 147 locations indicated in the score. An impartial rotating camera was used to capture every location, the durations of each determined by the I-Ching.
The result is a joyful, Cagean celebration of the sounds and the, sometimes unexpected, sights of New York City – and a time capsule travelog of how it appeared in the years 1994-95. It is a combination of spirited and zen-like visuals accompanied by the dynamic and musical soundtrack of the city’s natural environment.
While viewing the “49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs” you may choose the following interactive features:
- the names of the actual locations you are viewing can be shown on the screen using your remote control’s SUBTITLE button.
- by using your remote control’s alternate camera ANGLE button, you can toggle between the film, a detail map of the location you are viewing, or a full view of the map indicating the 3-point triangulation of the current Waltz.
- 16-page booklet with essay by Don Gillespie and a complete list of each Waltz location.
- Bonus AUDIO realization of “Waltz #9”, recorded by Gillespie in March 1979. (6 minutes)