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This film is
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John Cage – Halberstadt

Filmmaker : Pierre Hébert Québec, 2013 PRODUCTION : Pierre Hébert
No dialogue

About this film


Through a combination of live shooting, digital processing, and animation, John Cage - Halberstadt expresses the temporal vertigo generated by the rendering of John Cage’s piece Organ²/ASLSP over a period of 639 years. The images were shot at the 12th change of note, on July 5th 2012, in the Burchardi Church in Halberstadt. This is number 5 in the Places and Monuments series.

Tënk's opinion

In 2001, the work entitled Organ²/ASLSP from American composer John Cage began to be performed on an organ mounted in the church of Saint-Burchardi de Halberstadt, in Germany. The piece, played at an extreme slowness (the letters ASLSP are for “As Slow As Possible”) will take 639 years to perform and will conclude on September 5, 2640. On July 5, 2012, Pierre Hébert filmed the 12th note change in the piece since it began in 2001. This footage provided the base material for a meditative film in which clarinetist Lori Freedman begins an improvised musical dialogue with Cage’s work. The result is imbued with a startling spirituality, as shots of visitors walking through the Halberstadt church slowly lose their sharpness and they come to resemble ghostly silhouettes floating through the endless vibrations, which grow to transform the very walls of the 11th-century church. This type of religious experience wouldn’t be repeated in his work until the release of his feature-length film Le film de Bazin in 2017.

Marcel Jean
Executive director, Cinémathèque québécoise


Pierre Hébert

Director of more than 40 films, including three features (The Human Plant, 1996, Bazin’s Film, 2017 and Mount Fuji Seen from a Moving Train, 2021), Pierre Hébert worked at the National Film Board of Canada from 1965 to 1999. He is now an independent artist and his filmmaking work has taken a multidisciplinary scope (live animation performances with musicians, video installations, collaboration with choreographers, drawing, and actions on the web). He has also published several books on cinema as well as two drawing books. Since 2010, he pursues his Places and Monuments project combining animation and documentary, for which he received the prestigious career grant of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec in 2012 . In 2005, he was recipient of the Albert-Tessier Award for his complete works, and in 2018, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver.