For NIME this year, I've decided to create a loom which triggers samples and other various sounds, via max/msp. The exact details are yet to be worked out, as this is the simply the first step taken out of many. After much rumination on how I could combine both fiber arts and sound however, I'm happy to of finally found a direction which feels 'right'.
Looms, of course, are the tools used in weaving. They range from simple, hand-held devices, to lap-sized instruments, to giant, room-filling machines. Typically, there is a warp (vertical strands) and a weft (horizontal strands), that are brought together, transforming wools (or other raw materials) into fabric.
Historically, weaving is an ancient, cross-cultural, (traditionally) organic craft, typically assigned to women and yielding items of both expressive and utilitarian purpose.
I find something attractive in pairing both a usually soft, natural, feminine process with an assumed masculine, electronic process, comprised of components not normally thought of as 'soft' (i.e., wires, sensors, chips).
Juxtaposition aside, I feel there is a connection between weaving and musical composition. Actually, whether or not it actually ends up 'musical' is secondary. Transducing the motion of weaving into sound waves feels natural, almost literal – weaving together notes, samples, and aural textures into compositions of patterns and discrete designs.
Here are some of the different kinds of looms I'm looking at: