Pearla Pigao is an Oslo-based artist, musician, and craftsman. Drawing on her background in both music and textile art, her work explores the relationship between sound and material, drawing on the commonalities between weaving and musical composition to create digitally hand-woven textiles that create visual, tactile experiences of sound structures. Pigao’s interactive installations have earned her a number of scholarships and awards, including the Norwegian Artisans’ Student Prize and the Arts and Crafts Prize from the Fund for Art and Design Students. Pigao has had several exhibitions nationally and internationally. In 2018 she was part of the exhibition Norwegian Presence in Milan, and CHART art fair in Copenhagen, showing works in both Charlottenborg Kunst Hall and Design Museum Denmark.
I investigate how I can materialize music and sound through digitally hand-woven textiles. There are similarities between how to digitally build a surface in the weave and how to build a musical composition. With this as a starting point, I transform different sound structures into tactile experiences. The sound becomes three-dimensional, something one can physically touch and move around. This practice is related to my background as a musician. To me, sound and music is my starting point and my entry into the visual arts, in the craft, and in the loom.
By using metal wires as warp and weft in the loom, I have transformed the woven surface into a musical instrument inspired by the theremin. A theremin consists of an electronic oscillating circuit of which the musician herself is a part. The theremin is one of very few musical instruments to be played without being touched. Rather it is played by the musician's hands as they move between antennas thus interfering with the electromagnetic field of the circuit. My woven musical instrument consists of similar components to those of a theremin. When the viewers move in interaction with the textiles, they become co-creators of the sound composition of the work. Since the sound changes by the audience's movements and proximity to the textile, the work becomes interactive. This is also a way to experience textile, both visually and in the form of the body's movements against the fabric. The textiles get an expanded sound-based "body". The more people moving near the surface, the higher the tone you will create. The sound is controllable for one with a good ear, but the textiles will sing back to anyone and the viewer simultaneously becomes the listener and the composer.
All electronics are built in cooperation with electronics developer Henrik Waarum.