Pulsar Kite, aeolian instrument for computer music


Aeolian instruments create an atmosphere that can be eerie, entrancing or foreboding, giving wind currents a resonant voice. Wind harps that appeared to be played by invisible spirits created the first ambient music. Singing kites have carried whistles and flutes into the atmosphere long before anyone had experienced the roar of propellers and jet engines. Pulsar Kite is an electronic musical instrument made by Juan Duarte Regino which makes possible new kinds of sonic interactions with the wind, bringing computer music out into the open and exposing it to the elements in a playful and physically engaging way. Pulling and releasing the lines of a kite becomes not only a way for the body to negotiate the invisible and chaotic forces of the atmosphere, but also a way to interface the body and the environment with the domain of computation. Airborne sensors attached to the kite gather data on speed, rotation and elevation of the aircraft. The data is transmitted wirelessly to a computer on the ground where it seeds a software based on the pulsar synthesis method developed by Curtis Roads and Alberto de Campo, which is used to process ambient sounds picked up by a microphone. Various mappings allow either for immediate cause and effect reactions, magnifying changes in speed and acceleration and enhancing the vertiginous acrobatics of the kite, or alternatively for slower evolutions of the musical material, in which the data is used to feed the variations of a generative process. Pulsar Kite adds a perceptual layer to the experience of flying a kite, integrating a synthesized aural layer into the visual and haptic experience of tracking and steering the aircraft, effectively applying music and technology as vehicles to mediate between human activity and the natural environment. Matteo Marangoni


Pulsar Kite