Pauline Oliveros

Pauline Oliveros in the studio at the San Francisco Tape Music Center with Buchla 100-series modular synthesizers, 1966, courtesy of the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music Archive, photo: David Bernstein

Pauline Oliveros, Score for Composition, ca. 1981, eight sheets, installation view, Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), documenta 14, collection of the F. W. Olin Library, Mills College, Oakland, photo: Mathias Völzke

We are all at once both a composition and a composer. We have the ability not only to compose the future of our own lives but to help compose the future of everyone around us and the communities in which we live.
—Maya Angelou

December 1, 2016

This day
A double rainbow over our city of Kingston
This is really happening
All is real as any rainbow
A display
Being and Non-Being create each other
Or so they say.
I shall return to check that this is really happening
You shall return to check that this is really happening

Uranus cycles through your stars
Returning in your eighty-fourth year.
Crow eyes me through the kitchen window
Our skylight opens to the myriad lights and
The 10,000 Interviewers want to know
your process
more than ever before.
Speaking with the BBC you say:
“Yes—some do place a feminist interpretation on it,
but I was not thinking of that when I created
Bye Bye Butterfly.
I was in the studio and I knew I wanted to use
a record.
So, I just reached for one on the shelf,
without knowing what it was.
It turned out to be Madama Butterfly.”

You are here!
You are not here!
I don’t understand what day it is.
Days have fallen in between spaces.
Remember to remember
We will survive this.

One day,
We are tossing exotic crumbs,
strolling by the Rondout Creek,
Your words float in the wind:
“I chose
Rosa Parks Day
December 1, 1955
because …”

You chose that day
You are drawn
to truth
and the extreme essence
of listening
in deep time.
to the heart
of the world.
That day
Rosa Parks did not give up
her seat.
There was a power within her.
“I wanted to be free …
so other people would be also free.”

You are free and
traveling through
Sounds of Great Liberation.
No matter the venue,
the composition
is the listening,
in each
until the listening of all
is heard,
and everything you do
is in all ways


Posted in Public Exhibition
Excerpted from the documenta 14: Daybook

In Memoriam: Pauline Oliveros (1932–2016)

by Alvin Lucier

I first met Pauline Oliveros in 1965 in Cleveland, Ohio. Pianist David Tudor had been asked to perform a concert at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and invited Pauline and I to join him. I…