No Ideas But In Things – The composer Alvin Lucier

Documentary film

Viola Rusche / Hauke Harder
No Ideas But In Things – The composer Alvin Lucier
Germany (2012) World Premiere

Artist discussion after the film at Oberes Foyer

Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier

  • In English

Past Dates

American composer Alvin Lucier, born in 1931, is a pioneer of experimental music. As founding member of the Sonic Arts Union (1966-76) composers’ collective, he was one of the early representatives of live electronic music. Based on this, he developed compositions and installations devoted to sound phenomena such as resonances, echoes and interferences. In order to access natural acoustic phenomena and their intrinsic expressivity, Lucier often uses non-artistic methods that he borrows from the natural sciences among other sources.

»Don’t ask me what I mean, ask me what I’ve made«. True to his motto, the film accompanies Alvin Lucier during concert trips to The Hague and Zug (Switzerland) and allows him to comment on and explain his work. The spectrum ranges from performances of early live-electronic works from the 1960s and 70s (Music for Solo Performer and Bird and Person Dyning) to the premiere of his most recent ensemble piece Panorama 2 in 2011.
In his hometown Middletown, Lucier provides insights into the beginnings of his pioneer work, the Sonic Arts Union era, his relationship to John Cage and David Tudor, as well as his teaching work at Wesleyan University.
One of Lucier’s most important works, I am sitting in a room (1970), forms the central structural element of the film.

Funded by Filmwerkstatt Kiel der Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein GmbH