khipu / Electrotextile Prehispanic Computer

Constanza PiƱa Pardo (CL)

The Inca khipu are textile prehispanic devices for recording information, made of cotton or camelid fiber strings that store data coded as knots. The khipu are considered prehispanic ecological computers. These computers were made with organic materials such as stones, wool, vegetable fibers, ceramics, seeds, and even the human body itself is part of the computer system (fingers and toes encode and the user's brain processes the information). The importance of these computers lies in the transcendental, cosmic significance and the transmitted wisdom of our native peoples.
This piece is an open-source textile computer based on the manufacture of an astronomical khipu.
The installation of this piece consists of an antenna of about 6 meters in diameter, that is composed of 180 ropes. Each of them were hand-spun from a mixture of copper wire and alpaca wool. These ropes are connected to an electronic circuit that amplifies and sonifies the electromagnetic changes present at the installation site.
This piece was done for a group of five women in an experimental creation laboratory, called “Textile Computing and Spectrum Sonification,” in order to study the signs of the traditional Inca khipu and the analogies between this system of knots and the current binary coding system.
The information collected into this khipu includes a spectral classification of the main stars in the Boötes constellation that were located mid-sky (zenith) during the dates of the open laboratory.
This project is a sound and arts interpretation of the technology, wisdom, and history of our ancestors, meant to express how the universe is governed by harmonious numerical proportions. What we are hearing now is thus the amplification of inaudible Space, the voices of specters visiting the void, a celestial score, the music of the spheres: the voice of silence.

The Inca khipu are textile prehispanic devices for recording information, made of cotton or camelid fiber strings that store data coded as knots. The khipu are considered prehispanic ecological computers. These computers were made with organic materials such as stones, wool, vegetable fibers, ceramics, seeds, and even the human body itself is part of the computer system (fingers and toes encode and the user's brain processes the information). The importance of these computers lies in the transcendental, cosmic significance and the transmitted wisdom of our native peoples.
This piece is an open-source textile computer based on the manufacture of an astronomical khipu.
The installation of this piece consists of an antenna of about 6 meters in diameter, that is composed of 180 ropes. Each of them were hand-spun from a mixture of copper wire and alpaca wool. These ropes are connected to an electronic circuit that amplifies and sonifies the electromagnetic changes present at the installation site.
This piece was done for a group of five women in an experimental creation laboratory, called “Textile Computing and Spectrum Sonification,” in order to study the signs of the traditional Inca khipu and the analogies between this system of knots and the current binary coding system.
The information collected into this khipu includes a spectral classification of the main stars in the Boötes constellation that were located mid-sky (zenith) during the dates of the open laboratory.
This project is a sound and arts interpretation of the technology, wisdom, and history of our ancestors, meant to express how the universe is governed by harmonious numerical proportions. What we are hearing now is thus the amplification of inaudible Space, the voices of specters visiting the void, a celestial score, the music of the spheres: the voice of silence.

proyectokhipu.wordpress.com

Direction and concept: Constanza Piña Pardo
Realization: Melissa Aguilar, Ana Cervantes, Ana Ortiz, Daniela Sofia Main Reyes, Constanza Piña Pardo
Electronics: Corazón de Robota
Graphic and editorial design: Melissa Aguilar
Technical assistance: Alexandre Castonguay, Jaime Lobato
Video: Vero Ireta and Daniel LLermaly
Made in MedialabMX for Transitio MX (Mexico City) Perte de Signal (Montreal).
Special thanks to Pedro Soler

With support from: Melissa Aguilar, Ana Cervantes, Ana Ortiz, Daniela Sofia Main Reyes, Constanza Piña Pardo, Vero Ireta, Daniel LLermaly, Alexandre Castonguay, and Pedro Soler

Constanza Piña Pardo (CL) is a visual artist, dancer, and researcher, focused on electronic experimentation, free technologies, and social practices. Her work reflects on the role of machines in our culture, criticizing capitalism and the techno-patriarchy system. Interested in recycling, handicrafts, and electronic wizardry, she generates her sound project *Corazón de Robota* (She-Robot Heart) with DIY synthesizers, exploring the field of audible and inaudible frequencies as physical perceptions and noise. Constanza embodies the philosophy of free culture, technofeminism, and electronic anarchy.

Constanza Piña Pardo (CL) is a visual artist, dancer, and researcher, focused on electronic experimentation, free technologies, and social practices. Her work reflects on the role of machines in our culture, criticizing capitalism and the techno-patriarchy system. Interested in recycling, handicrafts, and electronic wizardry, she generates her sound project *Corazón de Robota* (She-Robot Heart) with DIY synthesizers, exploring the field of audible and inaudible frequencies as physical perceptions and noise. Constanza embodies the philosophy of free culture, technofeminism, and electronic anarchy.