Ken Gregory - Kite Lab
  Year :   2009
  Location :   Canada
  Worktype :   Project
  Info :  

  Work Details  
  I have been interested in re-introducing 'play' into my art practice. The vehicle for this has been the building and flying of kites. At first this seems like a simple exercise but actually as each fact leads to another in my research I find myself getting deeper into the rich and vast history, spiritual and cultural significance, science(physics of flight), the mysteries, poetic and metaphoric aspects of kites. These processes and discoveries are essential in 'sparking' my creative juices, challenging my skills and providing new experiences to draw upon in my artwork. I have been learning to design, build and fly kites with a recent emphasis on creating wind instruments. Simply, while the kite is in flight, the tow line vibrates at different frequencies induced by the various constantly changing wind intensities which can be heard as whistles or hums at very low levels. The basic idea is to experiment with acoustic and electronic amplification systems so that these sounds can be heard by the naked ear. Additionally I have been seeking out methods(successfully) of recording the sound digitally for use in other presentation forms. Another side of the Kite Lab process is the exploration into using electronic and digital interactive processes to create hybrid kite based media objects. Recent explorations include a successful experiment to broadcast the kites tow line vibrations using a contact mic connected to a small FM transmitter. This allows potential visitors to the field to listen to the sounds on FM radio receivers. Or the spacialization of the sound by placing FM radio receivers around the field(s) in range of the transmitter's broadcast. Another successful experiment is the development of a tiny microprocessor based data recorder (black box)that digitizes and records the speed of the wind, tilt, pitch and yaw of the kite in flight as a text file. This data(the kites trip) can be downloaded into software, analyzed and used in some way within a new media project, yet to be realized.