KSYME-CMRC
(founded 1979)

KSYME-CMRC, archival materials, installation view, Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), Athens, documenta 14, photo: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

KSYME-CMRC, EMS Synthi 100, 1971, analog synthesizer manufactured by Electronic Music Studios, London, installation view, Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), Athens, documenta 14, photo: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

KSYME-CMRC, archival materials, installation view, Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), Athens, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

KSYME-CMRC, archival materials, installation view, Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), Athens, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

The Contemporary Music Research Center (KSYME-CMRC) was founded in Athens in 1979 by Iannis Xenakis, Giannis G. Papaioannou, and Stephanos Vassiliadis, with the aim of developing electro-acoustic music and sound practices in Greece. It emerged from the Laboratory of Electronic Music (ΕΡΓΗΜ), a project of the Hellenic Association of Contemporary Music. Although state funding ceased in the early 1980s, KSYME-CMRC has continued to conduct research and educational programs, as well as festivals and institutional collaborations, forging mutual ground between its Greek musical heritage and the pioneering musical archives and instruments it holds. The center’s iconic equipment, such as Iannis Xenakis’s UPIC, which was developed to translate drawings and other visual data into sound via an electro-magnetic pen, opened up unique possibilities to envision musical creation within the progressively technocratic development of the world. His Mycenae Polytopon, the last in a series of site-specific works, was a performance that took place in 1978 and is the first example of such compositional process. Set around the ruins of Mycenae in the Peloponnese, it engaged a myriad of musicians, singers, shepherds, and their herds of lit sheep, as well as other recitals of movement and light.

The collaboration between KSYME-CMRC and documenta 14 endeavors to extend these innovative possibilities. At the center of the project is the restoration of KSYME-CMRC’s EMS Synthi 100, a rare analogue synthesizer built in a limited edition by the Electronic Music Studios, London, in 1971. The reactivation of the instrument after it malfunctioned some twenty years ago beckons the question of what we might learn from an “antique” electronic operating system and the cultural heritage it represents.

A series of four unique documenta 14 commissions for KSYME-CMRC’s EMS Synthi 100 by Panos Alexiadis, Jonas Broberg, Marinos Koutsomichalis, and Lisa Stenberg are performed on April 19 and 20, 2017, at the Athens Concert Hall Megaron. The instrument is subsequently displayed at the Athens Conservatoire (Odeion) for the remainder of the documenta 14 exhibition in Athens.

Posted in Public Exhibition
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