A special performance and screening at San Francisco’s Exploratorium brings some much deserved attention to the little-known, but deeply affecting, ondes Martenot.
The Exploratorium, now in its new location on Pier 15 in San Francisco, will be hosting a special screening of Caroline Martel’s fascinating documentary Wavemakers (Le chant des ondes) this Thursday evening as part of their monthly Of the Screen series.
A loving ode to the rare instrument known as the ondes Martenot, the screening will be accompanied by a live performance by Geneviève Grenier, “one of the foremost ondists in the world,” and followed by a Q&A with Martel conducted by Fandor’s Jonathan Marlow.
Via the Exploratorium website: “Developed in the early days of electronic instruments, the ondes Martenot, characterized by a fragile and intricate design, produces a wholly unique and deeply evocative sound that transfixes musicians and listeners alike. Filmmaker Caroline Martel pursues the lingering legacy, mystery, and rebirth of the ondes Martenot in her new work Wavemakers.”
If you find yourself in the Bay Area this Thursday evening, do yourself a favor and stop by to witness this extraordinary performance and screening. Better yet, bring a friend or two. Think about it: when’s the next time you’ll have the opportunity to hear an ondes Martenot performed live? Head on over to the Exploratorium site to purchase tickets (entrance to event is free, first-come, first-served, with general admission ticket).
Whether you’re able to attend this special event or not, we strongly recommend you check out the work of Caroline Martel. You can watch her mesmerizing documentary The Phantom of the Operator (Le fantôme de l’opératrice), a touching and humorous look at the history of female telephone operators, on Fandor:
We’d also like to direct your attention to an epic interview Jonathan Marlow conducted with Caroline at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2013 in which provides insight into her approach to filmmaking and the process of bringing the stories of both telephone operators and the ondes Martenot to screen:
Caroline Martel: Wavemakers and Operators (October 14, 2013)
(Images courtesy of Caroline Martel and the National Film Board of Canada.)