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Water Harp for Bjork

This was a project for Björk, who had asked me to explore instruments that harness forces of nature.  I chose to start with water, or gravity and surface tension, to be more precise.

The idea was to use water’s insistent softness to create music. In this rough prototype, I dropped water droplets on the strings of a harp to set them resonating.

Trying to  aim the droplets precisely was maddening.  They left the nozzles in non-deterministic directions and drifted in the slightest breeze. I modified the nozzles with guide-needles and increased the water’s surface tension by adding various chemicals.  But the randomness remained.

I liked the result when I finally got it working.  And I had a lot of 11th-hour help from the precise and perceptive Marina Porter.

I imagined a finished version looking something like this:

In the end I decided that I didn’t want to create a future in which Björk or I needed to precisely control falling droplets in various and unpredictable environments.  So these videos are all that is left of the work.

Photos by Marina Porter

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