Expanded paperback edition of John Cage: Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)

Expanded paperback edition of John Cage: Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)


John Cage, Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse), published by Siglio, 2019.

September 16, 2019
Expanded paperback edition of John Cage
Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
NY Art Book Fair: September 20–22, table B20 in The Dome
22-25 Jackson Ave.
New York, New York 11101
United States
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A repository of observations, anecdotes, proclivities, obsessions, jokes and koan-like stories, Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) registers John Cage’s assessment of the times in which he lived as well as his often uncanny portents about the world we live in now. With a great sense of play as well as purpose, Cage traverses vast territory, from the domestic minutiae of everyday life to ideas about how to feed the world.

Cage used chance operations to determine not only the word count and the application of various typefaces but also the number of letters per line, the patterns of indentation, and color. While chance operations expand the possibilities of creating and shaping work beyond the limitations of individual taste and perspective, Diary nonetheless accumulates into a complex reflection of Cage’s own particular sensibilities as a thinker and citizen of the world, illuminating his social and political awareness, as well as his idealism and sense of humor: it becomes an oblique but indelible portrait of one the most influential figures of the 20th century American avant-garde.

Collecting all eight parts into a single volume, this expanded paperback edition reproduces the lauded 2015 hardcover edition while including a significant addendum with over twenty facsimile pages of Cage’s handwritten notebook of a ninth part in progress. These previously unpublished pages bring the reader into compelling proximity to Cage’s process and the raw material from which it is made. In the editors’ note, Richard Kraft and Joe Biel succinctly elucidate the procedure of chance operations and demonstrate its application, giving readers a rare opportunity to see how the text is transformed.

“Over 16 years, beginning in 1965, John Cage compiled anecdotes, observations and koanlike tales, originally typing everything on an IBM Selectric and using chance methods to determine the formatting of texts that twist down each page. The Siglio [hardcover] edition preserves the graphic effects, but, more important, it gives a sense of the company he kept during these years—Marcel Duchamp, R. Buckminster Fuiller, D.T. Suzuki—and of his passionate feeling about a world locked in a state of perpetual warfare. Cage has a reputation for being a Zen-inspired wit. He was also much more, an intensely engaged moral thinker.” —Holland Cotter, New York Times

Edited by Joe Biel and Richard Kraft, with a new afterword by David W. Rose.

Pubication date: October 21 / 200 pages / 146 duotone and 24 four-color / 5.75 x 8.25 / ISBN: 978-1-938221-21-7

About Siglio
Founded in 2008 in Los Angeles and now located in the Hudson River Valley in NY, Siglio publishes uncommon books that live in the rich and varied space between art and literature. Siglio is a small, fiercely independent press driven by its feminist ethos and its commitment to writers and artists who obey no boundaries, pay no fealty to trends and invite readers to see the world anew by reading word and image in provocative, unfamiliar ways. Siglio books—authored by Joe Brainard, Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, Sophie Calle, Karen Green, Dorothy Iannone, Ray Johnson, Jess, Nancy Spero, Cecilia Vicuña, among many others—have received devoted readerships as well as critical accolades from New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, and Bookforum among many others.

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