HomeActivitiesExhibitionsExhibitions: Iannis Xenakis and the UPIC

Exhibitions: Iannis Xenakis and the UPIC

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In 2012, an interactive traveling exhibition, published by the Centre Iannis Xenakis, saw the day. Available in both French and English, it presents the tool to aid musical composition through drawing (called UPIC), created by the composer and architect Iannis Xenakis beginning in the 1950s.

It traces the history of the UPIC, based on documents from the archives of the Centre Iannis Xenakis: correspondence, concert posters, photographs, video testimonials highlighting experiences by composers, or the various UPIC workshops conducted with children or the blind.

After learning about the biography of Iannis Xenakis, the visitor is invited to consult three illustrated panels retracing the major phases of development of the tool. Then, an interactive timeline place the evolution of the UPIC in the context of key dates in the history of electroacoustic music. Furthermore, focus is given to the first work composed by Iannis Xenakis on the UPIC: to discover Mycenae Alpha, the visitor may consult a video listening station (testimony by Iannis Xenakis himself and a video of the graphic score of the work), as well as the facsimile of the composer’s original sketches score on a dedicated panel. Finally, the visitor’s experience is complemented by a second video listening station (including composers’ testimonies and a documentary film) and the many QR codes linking to multimedia content (digital online archive, musical pieces composed on the UPIC, videos) extend the exhibition’s experience beyond the display.

In addition, a web-based virtual exhibition was editorialized to prolong the experience and thus creating a link with the Digital Collections catalog of the Center Iannis Xenakis.

Example of the exhibition in Athens for the 35th CRMC Festival (2014):



This exhibition has already been programmed as part of several visual arts events in France and abroad:

- From March 17, 2012 to January 6, 2013: Invitation by the ZKM (Zentrum for Art and Media) in Karlsruhe, Germany to participate in the major exhibition "Sound Art - Sound as an art medium" with presentation of an original UPIC amidst other elements from our archives. In addition, three UPIC and Xenakis concerts co-produced by the CIX (Daniel Teige, founding member of CIX and Rodolphe Bourotte), UPIC workshops for children and adults (Rodolphe Bourotte) and participation in the conference "Limit Experiences and Electronic Music in the Context of Iannis Xenakis' (lectures by Sharon Kanach, Rodolphe Bourotte and Daniel Teige) were held there. [http://on1.zkm.de/zkm/stories/storyReader$7919]

- From January 17 to March 4, 2013, a version of the ZKM exhibition on the UPIC was hosted at the School of Fine Arts in Rouen (ESADHAR), also featuring concerts, workshops and conferences.[http://www.esadhar.fr/lh/?p=5194]

From 1 February to 31 March 2015: Hanging of the English version on display in Athens for the 35th CRMC Festival, organized by Space Under and the KSYME Center.[https://cmrc35years.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/exhibition-iannis-xenakiss-upic/]



Details of the exhibition’s elements

- 1 title panel "Iannis Xenakis and the UPIC" (60 x 125 cm)

- One panel devoted to Iannis Xenakis’s biographical elements (60 x 125 cm)

- 3 panels on the history of the UPIC (from the CEMAMu to the Ateliers UPIC to the CCMIX to the CIX) (3 panels, 80 x 178 cm each)

- The list of composers who worked on the UPIC (circa 130 names) (1 panel 60 x 125 cm).

- A chronology consisting of 7 interactive panels (125 cm x 178 cm) (with QR codes for reading by smartphones) with the history of the UPIC in light of significant events in the history of electroacoustic music at large.

- 10 sketches of Iannis Xenakis’s Mycenae Alpha (1 panel 153 x 178 cm) + 1 panel of the final score (1 panel 80.5 x 64 cm)

- A video terminal for film on the UPIC and Mycenae Alpha by Iannis Xenakis

- A second video terminal with Chris Marker’s film on Iannis Xenakis and UPIC ["The Owl’s Legacy" (1989)]

Transporting the exhibtion:

- a sturdy cardboard tube measuring 170 cm in length by 25 cm diameter

- weight = approx. 28 kg.

Overall size

Panels (cm):

60 x 125 = 2

125 x 178 = 7

153 x 178 = 1

80.5 x 64 =1

80 x 178 = 3

60 x 125 = 1

2 video terminals

17 linear meters minimum.


The CIX provides the panels coated canvas, tension rods panels and digital video files. Host must provide 30 S hooks for hanging the panels.

For more details or if you wish to book the show for your event, please contact us via the "Contact" section of the website.