May 19, 2016
Marfa Live Arts and CineMarfa hosted a free, public screening of Viola Rusche and Hauke Harder’s documentary NO IDEAS BUT IN THINGS – The Composer Alvin Lucier (94 minutes) in the Adobe Room at The Lumberyard, 201 East Dallas. The film offers an introduction to the life and work of 85 year-old American composer Alvin Lucier and his pioneering works in electronic music.
“No ideas but in things” is one of Lucier’s favorite quotes by American poet William Carlos Williams when asked about his artistic attitude. It also reflects the filmmakers’ intention to create a portrait of Lucier that is primarily based on his work. Inspired by the motto "Don’t ask me what I mean, ask me what I’ve made," this documentary accompanies the composer on concert travels to The Hague (Netherlands) and Zug (Switzerland). During interviews at his home in Middletown, Connecticut, Lucier offers rare insights into the origins of his innovative artistic practice dating to the late 1950s, his time as a member of the Sonic Arts Union, his relationships with John Cage and David Tudor, as well as his teaching practice at Wesleyan University. The filmmakers invite Lucier to explain and comment on his oeuvre from his early live electronics performances up to the premiere of his ensemble piece Panorama 2 in 2011. One of Lucier’s key works, I am sitting in a room (1969), is introduced as a central structuring device in the film.