The piece that I created is called Windloom, which is a combine of my windbox (a type of tool for starting a fire for cooking) and loom, two objects that from my childhood memory of my grandmother.
One of my earliest memory of my grandmother is when she’d pull the windbox to start fire in the big pot that feed the whole family, and the giant loom in our side room of our backyard in the village. My grandpa was always away, as a woman with four children in such a harsh period of time of that country, to survive was never easy. She didn’t went school for a long time, however her hands are maker’s hands, she cook, she pull the wind box, she weave, she ring the bell.
At first, I tried to make the instrument to be “nostalgia, ancient, quiet”, I’ve tried many looks they just don’t seems right. Then I started to think that, windbox is for cooking therefore for eat, loom is for weaving therefore to make clothes, they may be quiet and interesting interaction, and normal “grandma stuff" but we can not survive without eating or clothes, especially during that harsh time in China, my grandma was not a normal woman who is during boring chores, one thing is just strike me: My grandma, is a fighter.
On the "playing" the instrument part, I try to design the interaction as intuitive as possible. The pulling and push of the two windboxs are inspired by the action of starting the fire. The touching threads and lifting the bar is for weaving.
So I redesign the shape of the windbox into a shape almost like a weapon: to survive was never easy.
I used the interaction of windbox (pull and push), and the loom(organizing the wires, comb the wires ). The music was triggered by how far the windbox was pushed and pulled, and which part of the wires was touched. Everytime the comb (the brown part ) was used, it changed the state of the music, music would be remapped.
tools used: Max msp, Arduino
The touched part was lit up on the wires, inspired by the fire by the cooking platform, the more windbox was pulled, the redder it became. (From yellow to red). As for the real performance stage light, I chose to use very simple coldish blue light, on the back to lit up the instrument.
There are four state in the music, which was controlled by the button counter on the loom comb(the brown part on the model) For music part I worked with Wang Lu.
- Stage one : Creation (Composed using a lot of the natural sound, wind, thunder etc)
- Stage two: Born (Ancient feeling drums add in, chanting starts )
- Stage three: Fight (More drums, more intense human chanting )
- Stage four : Samsara (go back to the natural sound)