Merce Cunningham b. 1931
Beach Birds for Camera (1992)
DANCES Beach Birds
LENGTH 28 minutes
DIRECTOR Elliot Caplan

"Beach Birds for Camera" is an adaptation of a dance work originally made for the stage adding three additional dancers. This film combines different shooting locations, black and white and color film, and Dolby stereo sound to present dance through the visual medium of film. When it was first suggested to John Cage that he should create a work in collaboration with Merce Cunningham for the 1991 James Joyce/John Cage Festival in Zurich, Cage had the idea to write a large scale piece to be called "Ocean," the projected title for Joyce's next novel - never to be written - following "Finnegan's Wake." No suitable space was available for such a project, so it was decided that instead a new dance would be made for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company's repertory. Cunningham had always intended to call his part of the work "Beach Birds," and so the title remains. Filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios and Industria Superstudio in New York, NY, December, 1991.