The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the world’s most iconic structures, boasting stone block archways and airy rows of cables that give it an almost harp-like appearance. For sound and performance artist Di Mainstone, walking across the historic bridge gave way to some major inspiration. She noticed the long matrix of suspension cables resembled the strings on a musical instrument. The realization led Mainstone to her latest project, the Human-Harp, which mixes architecture with sound to make music with the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Human Harp is actually a number of clip-on sound interfaces designed to attach to the wires on suspension bridges. Utilizing music boxes equipped with magnetic digital interface modules, Mainstone found a way to translate the natural vibrations on a bridge – normally unheard by the human ear – into audible notes.
The performer, meanwhile, is equipped with a harness that includes magnetic points used to attach ripcords between themselves and the bridge. As the person moves and pulls on the strings, it changes the pitch, volume, timbre, and amplitude of the sound waves. It’s an experience that physically connects you to the bridge as well as an interactive performance art piece.
Earlier last month, Mainstone demonstrated the Human-Harp with dancer Hollie Miller to celebrate the Brooklyn Bridge’s 130th anniversary. Next, the artists hope to take their immersive art installation on an international tour across a range of suspension bridges, engaging pedestrians to “play the bridge” themselves like a musical instrument.
Images © The Human-Harp