Constanza Piña

Until 17 June 2022


This work is a contemporary version of the khipu, a mysterious ancient calculating machine used in the Inca Empire to record information. Although its exact functioning has not survived to the present day, it is known that khipus were used for calculation and writing thanks to a technique of knotted strings according to a binary and decimal coding language. The astronomical khipus, which represented the celestial constellations and the organisation of the cosmos, testify to the enormous astronomical knowledge of the Incas. Inspired by the original khipus, this open-source electro-textile computer is the result of research begun in 2013. The strings, braided and knotted between Mexico City and Gijón, contain the history of this process, encoded – written – through its knots. Like its Andean predecessors, it also includes a map of the sky, the one that was over LABoral on March 26, 2022 at noon. And it also incorporates an added function as it includes copper wires connected to an electronic system that transforms it into an audification instrument. The sound spectrum of space can thus be detected by human ears. Converted into an antenna, the work connects us with the phantom waves outside our perception, invisible presences that appear when they are invoked.