Generators centers on a set of hand-crank generators that convert mechanical motion into electrical energy to directly drive and synchronize a swarm of motor-driven devices. These motor-driven devices, in turn, activate mechanically a swarm of almost identical sound objects. The crank generators are connected via cables to the swarm of motor-driven devices, which are in turn connected to a spatially suspended swarm of sound objects (bells/resonators). The hand-crank generators are producing energy and therefore can be used to control sonic and musical parameters such as speed, volume, and duration. This system further develops prior work by Papalexandri-Alexandri and Lang. The extended system will allow the Generators with one revolution, one rotation, to activate or ‘wake up’ a swarm of previously inert objects into life. It will take collective participation to activate the full swarm body. This decision serves to highlight the meaning of collective effort and trust and how these evolve in social collaboration. Generators invites and trains with members of the public on how to participate in generating this sound-kinetic swarm.
In order to achieve a coherent and smooth movement among the generators (humans), and therefore to visualize and achieve swarm intelligence, visitors will be invited to participate in a series of warmup mind and body awareness activities. These will take place prior to interacting with the sound-kinetic swarm system, and they will prepare members of the public to act and interact as generators. The warmup activities will train participants in listening, coordinating with each other, operating mechanical props, building towards encountering the system in a live activation of the swarm and the art experience. Training will include exercising with mock equipment, to get familiar with e.g. with rotation, at a certain speed, or with attending to a particular pitch, sound, or physical movement. It will include exercises to reflect on individual and collective response-ability, ethics, sound, and action, building on prior research of Papalexandri-Alexandri and Efstathiou in the series of workshops Facing Sound (2019), presented as part of Papalexandri-Alexandri’s Shaping Sound course (Music) supported by the Cornell Society for the Humanities. Efstathiou will facilitate, together with Papalexandri, the training exercises that will be developed in two workshops held in collaboration with Shaping Sound students in fall 2020, and open to the general public. Generators invites the public to practice human coordination and behavior change.

  • July - October 2020
  • Herbert F. Johnson Museum
    Annex Lobby
  • Tuesday - Sunday, 10a-5p

Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri (Greece)

Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri (b. 1974) is a Greek-born composer and sound artist working in Ithaca, New York and Zurich Switzerland. Papalexandri’s works interweave the borderlines of sound art, musical composition, visual objects and performance and explore the factors that link these art forms.  The world of sound and the visual appearance of her works are in continuous interaction, while being uncompromisingly precise, pure and economical in their means.

Papalexandri’s work have been exhibited internationally, including the the Donaueschingen Festival & Museum Art Plus; MuDa museum of digital art, Zurich; the Asmolean Museum, Oxford; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; Museum of Musical Instruments Berlin; Galerie Anhava, Helsinki; Galerie Denise René, Paris; Tokyo Art Fair; Galerie Mazzoli, Berlin; Japan Art Media; ISEA Hong Kong; Art Taipei; Center d’Art Monica, Barcelona; San Francisco Art Institute; Biennale Disegno Rimini, Italy; Transmediale, Berlin and Venice Biennale of Architecture. Papalexandri’s kinetic sound sculpture Speaking of Membranes, created in collaboration with Swiss artist Pe Lang is part of the Saastamoinen permanent collection of EMMA, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland.

Papalexandri obtained her BMus degree in music and MMus degree in composition from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Following postgraduate studies and research at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna (2008). She completed her doctoral studies in music composition (Ph.D.) at the University of California, San Diego (2008). In August 2016 Papalexandri joined the Cornell University Department of Music as Assistant Professor of Music Composition.

Papalexandri’s music has been commissioned and premiered worldwide by ensembles and soloists such as Neue Vocalsolisten, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble SurPlus, Ensemble Mosaik, Chamber Curious Players, Yarn / Wire, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Scenatet, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Wet Ink Ensemble, Quartet New Generation, Orkest de Volharding, the London Improvisers Orchestra, the Hellenic Ensemble of Contemporary Music, Ensemble dissonArt, Hidden Mother, Ensemble This/Ensemble That, Karin Hellqvist, Ross Karre, Steven Schick, Justin Dehart,  Rhodri Davies, Ernst Surberg, Erik Drescher, Séverine Ballon amongst others, and featured in festivals such as MaerzMusik Festival, Berlin; the ISCM World Music Days, Stuttgart; Ultrashall, Berlin; ZKM, Karlsruhe; impuls, Graz; De Bijloke, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Dialogue Festival, Salzburg; Carlsbad Music Festival, Los Angeles; ECLAT Festival, Stuttgart; SPOR Festival, Aarhus; Audiograft Festival, Oxford; Concertgebouw Brugge; Athens Concert Hall; Tzlil Meudcan Festival, Tel Avil; Darmstadt; Gaudeamus Festival, Amsterdam; Issue Project Room, New York; Wien Modern and MATA New York.From 1999 to 2009 she was an active improviser (moving objects) performing with Eddie Prevost, Simon Vincent, Rob Wannamaker, John Lely, Sebastian Lexer, Seymour Wright, Steve Beresford and others.

The recipient of the Humboldt-University of Berlin: Cluster of Excellence International Fellowship (2015), Papalexandri has been honored by numerous awards, residencies and grants, including the Ernst Von Siemens Foundation Commission (2016), the Berlin Senate Sound Art Grant (2016), the Swedish Arts Council Composition Grant (2016 & 2015), the Berlin Senate Composition Grant (2011), the International IMPULS Composition Award (2009), a residency at the Electronic Music Studios, Sweden (2008), the Dan David Prize for Contemporary Music (2007), the Darmstadt Stipendienpreis (2006), the Erickson Composition Fellowship (2004), the Kurt Weill Composition Fellowship, the Gluck Art Fellowship (2004) and a residency at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (2011-2012). In 2017 Papalexandri was a sound artist in residence at the International House of Artists Villa Corcodia Bamberg Germany and at  St John’s College, University of Oxford. Papalexandri has been nominated for a 2019 residency at the International Instrument Inventor Foundation, the Hague, Holland.

Papalexandri’s current commissions include performative sound kinetic installations for Archipel 2018 Genève, ensemble Klangforum Wien, ensemble dissonArt, Quiet Music Ensemble and Susanne Fröhlich as well as a solo CD album to be released in 2019 by Japanese record label mAtter.

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