The Kite Choir is an ensemble with custom-made kites and sound instruments that builds upon 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 between atmosphere and performer. It functions as its own regime of perception, an aesthetic practice of attunement with the atmosphere.
The instruments developed so far include ribbon tow-lines attached to contact mics and portable mini-amps; tin-can resonator reels; acoustic and electric “hurdy-gurdy” reels of various sizes and materials. The score for the choir, written by the electroacoustic musician and composer Paula Matthusen, provides a set of instructions contingent upon varying aeolian, climatic, temporal, and psychological conditions. This score is printed as decks of “playing cards,” based on flag signaling systems. The videos included here are some of the “soundings” in the ongoing development of the project. More can be found at: vimeo.com/showcase/6025072
Many thanks to Kaitlin McCoy for her assistance, and to the Daniel J. Huberty Faculty Fellowship and the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University for their support of this project.