Firat Erdim, assistant professor of architecture, is an artist-in-residence from May through the first week of July in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland, as part of the Heima Art Residency program. At Heima, he is continuing development of the Kite Choir, an ensemble of custom-made kites and aeolian sound instruments that builds on traditions of singing kites from China, Japan, Vietnam and Bermuda. While the sound instruments in these traditions are carried aloft by the kites they are attached to, the Kite Choir utilizes the tow-line and reel of the kite as the sites of instrumentation, to promote a collaborative chain of agency across atmosphere, kite and performer. The instruments developed so far include both acoustic and electronic components: ribbon tow-lines attached to contact mics and portable mini-amps; tin-can resonator reels; and “hurdy-gurdy” reels of various sizes and materials.
Erdim is experimenting with the instrumentation and kite structures in the choir while performing with them as often as the weather allows. He invites others to participate in these performances with him and to explore the project as a collective, rather than strictly individual, aesthetic practice of attunement, which involves sharing agency with the “vital materiality” of not only the atmosphere, but also the place of performance, the things that the instruments are made of and with other performers. His aim is to explore the resonances between these constituents. Nearly every day begins with hiking out of town and into the hills in pursuit of interactions between land, wind and sea, and the ever-present seabirds. The sound and practice of the Kite Choir shifts and changes in response to this particular landscape and atmosphere. Listen to the difference between a wood ribbon reel recording and an electric hurdy-gurdy reel recording.
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