No Ideas But in Things


Sat 27th September
Cookes Studios, Barrow-in-Furness
13:00 – 17:00
Advance tickets £4 /£3 from
or £5 on the door

Octopus presents an afternoon celebrating the work of Alvin Lucier, curated by Ryoko Akama, including a rare screening of No Ideas But in Things and a number of live performances:

947 for flute and sine waves (2001)
performed by Alba Bru
Four pure tones are played against a flute, creating audible beating patterns slowed down and speeded up, highlighting Lucier’s approach to sonic phenomena and structures of perception..
13 degrees of darkness for flute and pre-recorded flutes (2013)
performed by Alba Bru
duration 13:45
The UK premier of Lucier’s new piece for flutes.
I am sitting in the room (1969)
Performed by Ryoko Akama and Octopus
One of Lucier’s best known works is realised by means of two small tape machines in an open attic space. The tone of the room acoustics and the resonance of the voice creates a unique auditory phenomena.
Plus one more piece tbc.

“Don’t ask me what I mean, ask me what I’ve made” – inspired by this motto, this documentary accompanies the American composer Alvin Lucier (*1931) on concert travels to The Hague (Netherlands) and Zug (Switzerland). The authors invite Lucier to explain and comment on his œuvre – from his early live electronics performances (Music for Solo Performer, 1965, and Bird and Person Dyning, 1975) 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.

Visited at his home in Middletown, Connecticut, Lucier offers rare insights into the beginnings of his pioneering works, his time as a member of the Sonic Arts Union, his relations with John Cage and David Tudor, as well as his teaching practice at Wesleyan University.

NO IDEAS BUT IN THINGS – this line by the American poet William Carlos Williams is one of Lucier’s favorite quotes when he is asked about his artistic attitude. It also reflects the filmmakers’ intention to create a portrait of Lucier that is primarily based on his work.