Sounding Carpet

Sounding Carpet (2018) A traditional Kurdish woven carpet is fitted with sensors that activate different sounds when a listener/viewer begins to explore the carpet by touch, revealing aspects of Kurdistan’s nomadic people and their relation to places and maps. Sounding Carpet Exhibited at Space21 Festival, Erbil. Slemani, Amna Suraka museum, and Erbil, Citadel the old Hammam. Space21 Exhibition for sound art 21-26 April 2018.

Sounding Carpet is an interactive sound piece, it explores the divisions between history, object, sound and technology. It creates a different listening experience, it breaks the associations with the traditional Kurdish carpet. When Hardi visited the Textile Museum in Erbil, Kurdistan last year, it was his first time seeing a Bradost Kilim. He examined the Kilim in order to understand whether there were connections between the symbols, colors, and the stories they were meant to tell. While at the Museum, he became intrigued by one symbol that looked like a human face but which – when he moved closer – shifted its images into gestures that somehow made him think about sounds. At that moment, the Kilim ceased to be just an object on the wall. Hardi could resonate with the gestures. When he touched the Kilim, he felt the vibrations of the gestures. It created an “exotic feeling” in him! Hardi then commissioned a handmade carpet from Koya textile factory in Kurdistan. He sent them just the “face” symbol magnified to scale on a millimeters paper. Consequently, he inspected the carpet using touch sensors, Max MSP and Ableton Live music software, with the assistance of programmer Carlo Cattano. Ideally, the sound design and composition structure in Sounding Carpet is an interpretation of the gestures and the colors of the “face” symbol. Sounding Carpet describes practical happenings in the public. The idea is that the public uses the three senses of hearing, seeing, and feeling by simply digging their fingertips into the “face” of the carpet and searching for sounds (which might be described as an archaeological action). In this creative process, the public is both performer and listener, and they can form their own real-time sound composition (improvisation) to create other stories from within the carpet through sound. Listening sensitively, participants reflect on their fingers wandering amongst the colors, shapes, and materials of the physical, handmade Kurdish Sounding Carpet and construct a time portal between the past and the present. Ultimately, the experience of drawing a connection between the past and the present creates “a now” which is where the contact between the Sounding Carpet and the public takes place.

© HK 2019