The 10 Rules for Students and Teachers Popularized by John Cage: “Nothing Is a Mistake,” “Consider Everything an Experiment”
The Brian Eno archive More Dark than Shark recently posted on its Twitter account a list of posted on its Twitter account and teachers used by John Cage. Though much has been written about the artistic affinities between Eno and Cage, both of whose compositions have pushed the boundaries of how we think about music itself, they also both have a deep connection to the idea of using rules to enhance the experience of creation. Where Eno has his bedeck of creative process-enhancing Oblique Strategies cards, Cage had this list of rules first composed by an educator, silkscreen artist, and nun named Sister Corita Kent..
Kent came up with the list, writes Brainpickings' Maria Popova, "as part of a project for a class she taught in 1967-1968. It was subsequently appropriated as the official art department rules at the college of LA’s Immaculate Heart Convent, her alma mater, but was commonly popularized by Cage, whom the tenth rule cites directly." That tenth rule, more of a meta-rule, reminds the reader that "we're breaking all the rules" by "leaving plenty of room for X quantities." But one can easily imagine how the previous nine, having as much to do with the pleasure of the work of learning, teaching, and creating as with its rigorous performance, might appeal to Cage as well. The complete list runs as follows: