Kristi Allik, Robert Mulder
The 'Skyharp' is a 'virtual instrument' designed to collect data from a natural environment, data which is subsequently used to generate a complementary soundscape.
The 'Skyharp' utilizes sound to create a subtle relationship between a natural feature (such as a tree, waterfall etc.), the natural landscape, and the human inhabitants of this landscape. 'Skyharp' generates this complete interactive environment on a massive scale, going beyond the typically human, self-centered tendencies, and involving instead the dynamic rhythms of forests, celestial phenomena and similar phenomena in a massive interactive process. The intention of any 'Skyharp' installation is to sensitize groups of visitors to the complex relationship of seen, heard and imagined elements. The name 'Skyharp' reflects the aesthetic function of this particular instrument; it is 'played' by the most primary of ecological forces: the wave action of water, the revolving motion of clouds, the subtle vibration of trees, and the imperceptibly slow creeping of light and shadow.
In July 1991 the 'Skyharp' was part of the 'Millennium Project', held at the Cataraqui Conservation Area in Kingston. For the duration of a week, a massive, prominent elm tree was the star performer in the interactive installation. The visitor could stand among a small forest of clear acrylic 'speakers', and listen to the electro acoustic and natural sounds, while observing the ever-changing relationship of wind, crickets, the majestic movement of the elm tree and the other natural constituents of this installation. (Kristi Allik/Robert Mulder)