Abstract

A khipu is an artifact used in the ancient Inca Empire and previous Andean societies to process and transmit statistical and narrative information. It is known as one of the first textile computers, a tangible interface encrypted in knots and strings made of cotton and wool. This system was widely used until the Spanish colonization that banned and destroyed many of the existing khipus. This article presents the creation process of the Electronic_Khipu_, a new interface for musical expression. It takes the form of a MIDI controller, inspired by the original Incan device. The Khipu has been converted into an instrument for interaction and experimental sound generation by weaving knots with conductive rubber cords, thereby encoding musical compositions. The article goes on to document the implementation of the electronic instrument and evaluate its use in live performances. The research also explores the work of significant artists in this conceptual line who, from a decolonial perspective, have transformed and incorporated the khipu into different contemporary expressions of electronic sound art. These works, along with the practical example cited with the Electronic_Khipu_, suggest alternative practices of tangible live coding, computer music, and data sonification. Creative work with sound continues a legacy, almost lost in colonization, of the ancestral practice of weaving knots as code. In addition, some ideas will be presented to enhance the instrument's performance in the future.

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