Published July 21, 2020 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Title: Knotting the memory//Encoding the khipu_


The khipu is an information processing and transmission device used mainly by the Inca empire and previous Andean societies. The word comes from the kichwa language [khipu] which means knot. This mnemotechnic interface, is one of the first textile computers known, consisting of a central wool or cotton cord to which other strings are attached with knots of different shapes, colors, and sizes encrypting different kinds of values and information. The system was widely used until the Spanish colonization that banned their use and destroyed a large number of these devices [1].
In the performance, the interface is reused as a NIME using new materials in an electronic khipu, paying homage to this device with the convert into an instrument for the interaction and generation of live experimental sound. Through the weaving of knots, the artist takes the position of a contemporary “khipukamayuq”(who was the person dedicated to knot the khipu) [2] seeking, from a decolonial perspective to encode with the touch, the gestures and the different kinds of knots, the interrupted legacy of this ancestral practice in a different experience of tangible live coding and computer music, as well as weave the past with the present of the indigenous and people resistance of the Andean territory with their sounds.



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