Alvin Curran: Before the Driverless Car There Was Improvisation

Before the Driverless Car There Was Improvisation is a lecture written and published in 2016-17 for the Nuova Consonanza Festival in Rome. It is a lively and provocative piece on spontaneous music making – theorising this practice from the beginnings of human music (ca 40,000 years ago) to the present time, when Improvisation has become a musical-making category of its own – a practice which is based on human trust, indeterminacy, a profound understanding of silence and the latest acoustic and electronic instrumental technologies.

About Alvin Curran
Democratic, irreverent and traditionally experimental, Curran travels in a computerised covered wagon between the Golden Gate and the Tiber River, and makes music for every occasion with any sounding phenomena — a volatile mix of lyricism and chaos, structure and indeterminacy, fog horns, fiddles and fiddle heads. He is dedicated to the restoration of dignity to the profession of making non-commercial music as part of a personal search for future social, political and spiritual forms.

Curran´s music-making embraces all the contradictions (composed/improvised, tonal/atonal, maximal/minimal…) in a serene dialectical encounter. His more than 200 works feature taped/sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizers, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion and chorus. Whether in the intimate form of his well-known solo performances, or pure chamber music, experimental radio works or large-scale site-specific sound environments and installations, all forge a very personal language from all the languages through dedicated research and recombinant invention.

Plattform is Bergen Kunsthall’s series of lectures and debates with artists and prominent thinkers. Plattform events are live-streamed on our website.

This talk is one of the events that are a part of Bergen Kunsthall’s exhibition File Under Freedom, on view February 5 – March 27, 2022. The talkis in English.