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Calder Plays Theremin

| | | | | March 16, 2022

Words by Vic Arkoff

At NYC’s MoMA, composer Dorit Chrysler used the movements of iconic Calder mobiles to control Theremins, musical instruments played without physical contact. As the metal sculptures moved, they produced sounds by affecting the electromagnetic fields of the Theremins, resulting in a musical “collaboration.”


After filming and recording the interplay of sculpture and antennas, Chrysler mixed the sounds into finished compositions in the tradition of musique concrète. Michael Tyburski directed the film footage, now on view in 4.1 surround sound at Fridman Gallery through 3.23.2022.Calder Plays Theremin

Calder Plays Theremin

Coincidentally, the project also utilized a Moog Synthesizer 15 and a Claravox Theramin manufactured in honor of Clara Rockmore, the famed thereminist who was present in the same MoMA Sculpture Garden in 1969 to see Bob Moog in his legendary public synthesizer debut.Calder Plays Theremin

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