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Quebec, 2013

Production : Pierre Hébert

Programmed by Marcel Jean

Without dialogue

Les films de Pierre Hébert


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.

A word from Tënk

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

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