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Paul Demarinis

Paul Demarinis

Paul Demarinis (b. 1948) is a sound, performance, and computer-based artist and composer based in California. His extensive work with interactive sound art and performance explores the overlap between human communication and technology. A former member of the San Francisco Bay Area-based experimental music collective “The League of Automatic Music Composers,” Demarinis was one of the first artists to use computers in live performance. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, NYFA, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and other organizations. Demarinis has created numerous major installations, including “The Messenger” at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria, which received the Golden Nica Award for Interactive Art. He also created large-scale public works at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and at Expo in Lisbon, among others. He is currently a professor of art at Stanford University.

Music Room

1981

Music Room is a multi-player computer system which enables visitors with no previous musical training to participate in an ensemble experience and to compose together. Each person is responsible for a distinct musical part and performs on one of the five touch-sensitive guitars. One controls rhythm, meter and tempo, playing percussion sounds. A second plays bass lines and coordinates harmonic movement, while two others direct harmony, voicing, orchestration, and melodic figurations. The fifth instrument is capable of pure melodic invention.

Alien Voices

1989

Alien Voices consists of two side-by-side oak and glass structures that resemble old-fashioned telephone booths. Each phone has a touch-control panel with sixteen different options for changing one's speech via computer. Visitors holding a conversation with someone in the neighboring booth can change their voice from a monotone to a throaty whisper or add a Gregorian Chant tone to whatever they say. By letting visitors exaggerate or eliminate the nuances that are present in each of our individual speech patterns, Alien Voices demonstrates how the "music" of our speech can change the intent of what we say, despite the hard-and-fast meaning of words.

Al and Mary Do the Waltz

1989

Al and Mary Do the Waltz, which is no longer on the museum floor, consisted of an old Edison wax cylinder played by a laser beam which shined through a fishbowl. A swimming goldfish would occasionally break the beam of light, thereby interrupting the exhibit's soundtrack; an old version of "Blue Danube."