Dorit Chrysler: Queen of the Theremin


I have long been a fan of the haunting sound of the theremin. Invented in 1928 by Russian-born Leon Theremin, the theremin is an electrical vibrating system, an instrument that’s played without being touched. Growing up on a diet of B-grade sci-fi films, like ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, and Ed Wood films with their theremin score, I came to associate the instrument with the sound of the future.

On a recent trip to Berlin I took it upon myself to source one for home; Berlin yields up boundless treasures if you really look for them. I started my journey in the East where I first popped in to see my friend Tobias at Arndt gallery, who introduced me to the works of Austrian-born New York-based Dorit Chrysler. It was auditory enchantment!

“Imagine if Marianne Faithfull and Nikola Tesla had a love child, with Jane Birkin as the nanny and Björk as the wayward Girl Scout leader,” is how Paper Magazine describes Chrysler. With this as an intro I dare you to not click on the videos below. An experimental electronic music composer, Chrysler is a master of this ‘violin of the etherwaves’.

Making her professional vocal debut at Austria‘s Opera House Graz at the age of seven, Chrysler has enjoyed a prolific recording and performing career as a vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, producer, and engineer. She’s shared live bills with acts as diverse as Alexander Hacke, Amon Tobin, Dinosaur Jr., Blonde Redhead, Marilyn Manson, Mercury Rev, Oingo Boingo and Echo & The Bunnymen and oh, so many other creative collaborations. She has also written scores for her partner, Danish artist Jesper Just’s films, to be seen in permanent collections at MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum.

For a soundtrack to your Friday, check out the weird and lovely work of this avant-garde sound artist below.


One thought on “Dorit Chrysler: Queen of the Theremin

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