Secret Composer Confession: Why I Love Fluxus

During the 1960s and 1970s, experimental musicians, poets, writers, and artists discovered a new art movement: The Fluxus Movement. Nude performances, television cellos, and silent compositions became the norm of an anything but normal movement. 

The Fluxus movement of the 1960s and 1070s seemed to mirror America's societal insanity by the creation of experimental art pieces which stretched the limits of art and decency. The Fluxus crew was an unlikely mix of filmmakers, poets, writers, musicians, performance artists, and actors who joined together to create a neo-Dadaist movement intent on its own destruction through anti-art and severely anti-establishment art.

I participated in a Fluxus Day Celebration with Allison Knowles and Larry Miller in Miami.
 My poor boyfriend had to help push the piano. He thought we were nuts.

Among the Fluxus artist was the controversial composer and philosopher John Cage, who had composed the work 4'33". This composition consisted of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of absolute silence. Inspired by his love of silence and his deep eastern religious beliefs, Cage continued to explore the line between sound and silence, sometimes entirely ignoring conventional music altogether with works written for radio. John Cage remains a controversial figure today, although he has been gone for two decades. Once blamed for the destruction of music, now study of Cage and his innovative ideas is the crux of many contemporary composer's education.

Nam June Paik, more of a performance artist than music composer, created musical compositions called the Paint Pieces, the most famous of which involved the performer dipping his or her head in a can of paint and then proceeding to paint a straight line across a long piece of paper. Paik collaborated with cellist Charlotte Moorman on a number of works, including works that involved the cellist performing on a cello made entirely of televisions and performing works nude. (She was arrested for indecency at one such performance).

Even celebrities participated in the Fluxus movement. Yoko Ono, married to Beatles member John Lennon and an integral part of Beatles culture, was an active Fluxus participation. Yoko Ono created a work called "Cutting Piece". In Yoko Ono's "Cutting Piece", the audience lines up to snip off pieces of Yoko Ono's clothing with a pair of scissors. This was only one of Yoko Ono's works in Fluxus.

Fluxus is alive and well today. In 2006, for example, the Subtropics Music Festival in Miami hosted a Fluxus Day, where Fluxus legend Alison Knowles helped move a piano from a local art gallery on Lincoln Road to the beach. Onlookers wondered at the crazy group who was helping Knowles as she played the piano en route amid signs glorifying the wonders of Fluxus. In great fun, the Fluxus revelers engaged in bizarre Fluxus games and abandoned the piano to the elements. A little bit of fun, a little bit of mayhem, and a little bit of art - that is the heart of the Fluxus movement.

Whether fun or just crazy, Fluxus is a movement for those who are tired of artists who take themselves to seriously.

Award-winning composer Sabrina Pena Young is a foremost expert on Virtual Opera Production and . A sought after consultant and speaker in music, arts, and technology, Young continues to push musical boundaries. Critics have called her "Wagner 2.0"and "Talented" with her works presented at Art Basil Miami, Opera America in NYC. the Beijing Conservatory, ICMC, London's Angel Moving Image Festival, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, SEAMUS, the NY International Independent Film Festival, Miramax's Project Greenlight, TEDxBuffalo, the Holland Animation Film Festival, TEDx, and countless venues in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

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High Style said…
I always look forward to going out. A good tip would be to look out for those places with interesting concepts. This place is pretty amazing. I came up here with a friend. The party venues were spacious and food was great.

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