Alexis Kirke

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Alexis Kirke is a composer and filmmaker known for his interdisciplinary practice. He has been called "the Philip K. Dick of contemporary music".[1][2] Alexis is British and lives in Plymouth, in South West England. Alexis says he takes his inspiration from both the Arts and from Science/Technology - and has two doctorates - one from each of those Faculties at Plymouth University.[citation needed] In particular, his highest profile work has been motivated by interests in quantum mechanics, marine science, stock markets, and artificial intelligence. Alexis is Permanent Research Fellow in Music at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at the Plymouth University, and is composer-in-residence for the Plymouth Marine Institute.[3]

Sound projects[edit]

Alexis' most recent music projects were Sound-Wave,[4] wherein he turned the UK's most advanced wave tank into a giant musical instrument for the opening of the Plymouth Marine Institute building by the Duke of Edinburgh; and the financial "reality opera" Open Outcry,[5] in which performers trade real money by singing, sponsored by Barclays.[6]

Alexis initially gained recognition for his performance Sunlight Symphony,[7][8] which turned the University of Plymouth's iconic Roland Levinsky Building into a musical instrument played by the rising sun. His first performance supported by Plymouth Marine Institute was Fast Travel,[9] in which a saxophonist interacted with live artificially-intelligent whale schools. Other prominent works include Cloud Chamber[10][11][12] with a violinist playing a duet with subatomic particles in real-time - and Insight [13] in which Alexis (who has the harmless visual condition palinopsia) simulated his hallucinations live on an iPad, which were turned into sound accompanied by a flautist.[citation needed]

Alexis has collaborated with composers and performers such as John Matthias, Eduardo Reck Miranda, DJ Pierre, Lola Perrin, and Martyn Ware.[14]

Film projects[edit]

Alexis' best known film project is the writing, directing, and soundtracking of the short film Many Worlds (2013)[15][16] - a 15-minute movie about a human version of a Schrodinger's Suicide experiment. The movie has four possible scripts, with four possible endings. All four scripts are filmed, and then bio-signals are collected from a sample of the audience live during the screening; a computer uses this data to select live which version of the film is shown at any moment, depending on how bored or interested the audience is at the time. The film has premiered at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 2013.[17]


  1. ^ "Plymouth University composer Alexis Kirke turns movie maker for a cinema revolution with Many Worlds". Plymouth Evening Herald. February 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Click Episode 04/09/2012". BBC World Service. September 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ "The payoff of 'buy' or 'sell' will be harmony or discord". Times Higher Education. 15 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Kirkes' Orchestra Worlds tune swimming pool waves". Daily Mail. October 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Open Outcry Financial Reality Opera (full 8 minute video)". Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Reality opera about the stock market". Daily Telegraph. November 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ Geere, Duncan (March 2, 2010). "The building that became a musical instrument". Wired UK. 
  8. ^ Coleman, Nick (February 21, 2010). "Plymouth...a pearl on the seashore". The Independent UK. 
  9. ^ Solon, Olivia (July 25, 2011). "Virtual whales react to saxophonist in musical composition". Wired UK. 
  10. ^ de Lange, Catherine. (February 8, 2011). New Scientist TV. Violinist plays duet with radioactive particles.
  11. ^ Dammann, Guy. (February 15, 2011). The Guardian UK. Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music festival – review.
  12. ^ Austen, Kat. (February 22, 2011). New Scientist UK. Playing music at random.
  13. ^ Solon, Olivia. (January 17, 2012). Wired. ' Composer Seeks to Turn His Hallucinations Into Music.
  14. ^ "Data analysis of David Bowie's career turned into musical 'sonifications'". 19 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Whipple, Tom (February, 2013). London Times
  16. ^ Astle, Randy (February 2013), "Interactivity Through Biology with many worlds", Filmmaker Magazine 
  17. ^ "Reviewed: Sensing Memory festival at the University of Plymouth". New Statesman. 21 February 2013. 

See also[edit]