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Live Radio Listen: John Cage's The City Wears a Slouch Hat

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

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Live listen of 1941 radio play The City Wears a Slouch Hat, a kaleidoscopic trip across a city with music composed by John Cage and words by avant-garde poet Kenneth Patcham. 

The City Wears A Slouch Hat was a radio play commissioned in 1941 by the experimental Columbia Workshop series, with music composed by John Cage to accompany words by avant-garde poet Kenneth Patchen. It’s a kaleidoscopic (or kaleidosonic) trip across a city, guided by a mysterious voice and his interactions with even more mysterious characters.
This event will be an opportunity to listen to the play in its entirety (roughly 30 minutes) as a group, followed by a discussion featuring a panel of radio experts and a chance to consider this work in the context of 21st century audio.

Dr Magz Hall
Dr Magz Hall is a sound and radio artist, who has exhibited and broadcast across the UK and internationally. A founder of Radio Arts and Resonance FM, she is a senior lecturer whose own research spans radio and audio across the spectrum. Her interests include radio art, expanded radio art, sound art, podcasting, community radio, documentary, drama and art for the environment.

Professor Hugh Chignell
Hugh Chignell is Emeritus Professor of Media history at Bournemouth University. He has published widely on radio history and especially the history of radio drama including British Radio Drama 1945-1963 (Bloomsbury, 2019). He co-edited The Bloomsbury Handbook of Radio which was published in 2022. He is currently a student on the Birkbeck M.A. in Modern and Contemporary Literature.

Professor Esther Leslie
Esther Leslie has research interests in political theories of aesthetics and culture and the poetics of science and technology, as well as animation, in an expanded sense. She has a particular focus on thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School, including Walter Benjamin, T.W. Adorno, Kracauer, Bloch. Recent work includes a thorough and experimental history of Weimar radio and BBC exile history through the figure of Ernst Schoen.

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