Off the Screen: Caroline Martel’s Wavemakers

With filmmaker Caroline Martel in person and an ondes Martenot demonstration by Geneviève Grenier.

Thursday, February 20, 2014 • 7:00 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15, Kanbar Forum

Free with museum admission. A general admission ticket does not guarantee admission to special programs with limited seating. There is limited capacity for this program; seats are available on a first-come, first served-basis.

Adults Only (18+)

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.

Using her trademark creative approach to documentary, Martel explores the convoluted history of the ondes Martenot through a range of never-before-seen archival footage and in-depth conversations with the few professional ondists (such as Suzanne Binet-Audet, the “Jimi Hendrix of the Martenot”), many enthusiasts (including Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood), and the inventor’s family. Martel tracks the instrument’s progression from labor of love for its inventor, Maurice Martenot, into a source of obsession for musicians and hackers seeking to recreate the instrument and its sound through new designs.

Featuring: Wavemakers (2013, 96 min.) by Caroline Martel
Following the screening, director Caroline Martel will join us for a Q&A.


In addition, Geneviève Grenier will present a special demonstration of this rare and ethereal instrument. One of the foremost ondists in the world, Grenier has been a member of the Ensemble d’ondes de Montréal since 1988 and has performed with a host of international orchestras and musical artists.