The Music and Machines of Erkki Kurenniemi

Kunstquartier Studio 1, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin Map
Tickets: 5 €, box office only


13:00 14:00

Erkki Kurenniemi (b. 10 July 1941 in Hämeenlinna, Finland) is a Finnish designer, philosopher and artist, best known for his electronic music compositions and the electronic instruments he has designed. He is considered as one of the leading early pioneers of electronic music in Finland. Kurenniemi is also a science popularizer, a futurologist, a pioneer of media culture, and an experimental film-maker.

During the 60s and the 70s, Kurenniemi designed 10 unique electronic musical instrument and studio devices. Most of these instruments are synthesizer-sequencers, where Kurenniemi applied advanced digital logic and peculiar control methods, for example a collective instrument controlled by a group of people touching each other (DIMI-S aka Sexophone, 1972) or an instrument controlled by its player’s brainwaves (DIMI-T aka Electroencephalophone,1973). Two of Kurenniemi’s instruments (Andromatic and DIMI-O) are located in Andromeda studio in Stockholm and one (DIMI-T) in Oslo. The rest of his instruments are located in the University of Helsinki Electronic Music Studio and three of these (Electric Quartet, DICO and DIMI-A) are in working condition and frequently used. During that time, Kurenniemi composed also approximately 30 electronic musical works on tape, including electroacoustic works as well as music and sound effects for films, theater, exhibitions, happenings and radio plays. 

Kurenniemi’s musical works are strongly associated with his hand built instruments they were composed with. Some of his works were initially instrument tests and only after releasing on an album they gained the status of a musical work.

This presentation introduces Kurenniemi’s instruments, his design principles and electronic music in depth with plenty of sound and video examples.


Presented in collaboration with Mikko Ojanen, Mika Taanila, and the Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art in Helsinki.


Erkki Kurenniemi[FI]

Finnish inventor, engineer, filmmaker, nuclear physicist turned artist and technology pioneer of the 1960s, Erkki Kurenniemi is also a science popularizer, a futurologist, and an experimental film-maker. One of the great unsung pioneers of the electronic age, Erkki Kurrenniemi played a central role in the development of electronic music in Finland.

Mikko Ojanen[FI]

Mikko Ojanen works as a musician, sound technician and music producer with several pop groups and experimental ensembles. Ojanen also teaches at the University of Helsinki Electronic Music Studio. He is specialized in Finnish electro-acoustic music and the development of studio and music technology.

Jari Suominen[FI]

A musician and artist, Jari Suominen (1979) lives and works in Turku, Finland. Currently, he is active member of electronic psych group Shogun Kunitoki and psychedelic power duo Jarse and Kiila, one of the motherships of the Finnish forest folk underground. In addition to his work as musician he has been creating, designing, and building installations, electronic gadgets, and software by himself and with others. He is most comfortable exploring themes of minimalism, psychedelia, and naive misuse of technology in different contexts. He is also doing research on history and technology of Finnish synthesizers by Erkki Kurenniemi, and performs with the synthesizers as a member of DIMIs Reconnected.

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