Calder, the iconic American sculptor and mobilist once said, “The underlying sense of form in my work has been the system of the universe (…) the idea of detached bodies floating in space.” Leon Theremin, the pioneering inventor of the only musical instrument played without physical contact, offered music through the “free movement of the hands in space.”
For Berlin-based composer, sound artist, and thereminist Dorit Chrysler, those ideas cried out to be united in a posthumous collaboration by these two men. The theoretical synergy between Calder’s ever-changing mobiles, turning and shifting endlessly through the air, and Theremin’s antennas, ready to receive and translate into music the stimulus of any nearby moving object in the air, was irresistible. Chrysler conceived of a kind of music of the spheres—Calder’s heavenly bodies orbiting within the electromagnetic fields of Theremin’s space control instruments, setting in motion a sort of Rube Goldberg machine that composes music as it goes.
Join us at KW for the launch of Dorit Chrysler’s new album Calder Plays Theremin (Special vinyl edition released by Fridman Gallery and NY Theremin Society, 2023/ binaural audiocassette released by KinshipBerlin), featuring a video installation and live performance by Chrysler. Presenting as a multi-movement orchestra for the theremin, Calder Plays Theremin originated from a sound piece commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in conjunction with the exhibition Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start.
Dorit Chrysler is a Berlin-based composer and sound artist, and founder of the NY Theremin Society. Her work explores new applications of the theremin instrument in various mediums. She has been awarded the Austrian State Stipend in Composition 2023 and earned her Master’s Degree of Musicology in Vienna.
CALDER PLAYS THEREMIN
KW Institute for Contemporary Art | Auguststrasse 69 | 10117 Berlin