Data as Culture - Art that uses data as a material
Inca Telefax is an occasionally broadcasting three-channel installation of algorithmically generated sounds shown with pixelquipu, an accompanying visual score. The works derive their structure from Pre-Columbian quipu – necklace-shaped, knotted threads that were used for different, partly unknown, administrative and scientific tasks across the Inca empire. Quipu are thought to have contained data relating to calendar information or accounting within a large empire with no money or other forms of written record. Mysterious ‘narrative quipu’ also exist, which follow less clear patterns. The artists have employed sonification to create an aural insight into quipu, which identifies rhythmic structures that “would be easy to overlook visually”. The works introduce us to an abstracted, contemplative encounter with an ancient form of data collection. Produced as the result of a seminar with the music informatics students at the Institute for Music and Media at the Robert Schumann University of Music and Media, Düsseldorf.