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Statistical harp and other machines

Statistical Harp

Statistical Harp is an installation by Coti and D. Charitos that takes its name from the ancient Aeolic Harp, which was probably the first ever sound installation (6th century B.C.) that was usually located on hilltops and produced sound by the wind vibrating its strings.
In the case of the Statistical Harp, the wind as a vibrating source is replaced by a literary text (namely James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake), which is fed into the system in a non-linear manner. The flow of the text is broken into letters and consequently into ascii code, which functions as a kind of “Morse code” trigger for a series of motors plucking wire ropes. These wire ropes play a multiple function in this installation: firstly, as structural elements, secondly as sound producing material and thirdly as visual elements. The structural role of the ropes is to support all input/output devices, including the multi-channel speaker system, which affords the spatialised auditory aspect of the experience. Additionally, the occurrence of the text’s letters is statistically analyzed and the result of this analysis affects the pitch parameter in the processing of sounds, originally produced by the wire ropes and consequently transmitted by the speakers.
Also, the presence and activity of visitors is detected and used as another parameter affecting the manner in which the Statistical Harp transforms the flowing text into audio.
This information transformation, whether it occurs in an apparent or transparent manner, is one of the main issues that Coti and D. Charitos have dealt with when producing this work.
A second part of the installation consists of a smaller “box-like” environment, that the visitor has to approach in order to experience sonically. Therein, a series of motors triggered by the Statistical Harp’s central mechanism, produce delicate fricative sounds.
Three printed images, deriving from the system’s software interface, complement the visual aspect of the work.