Harpa Laser has a strong impact on the audience, engaging people to happily interact. This is even more so evident with children and younger audiences as they feel they are interacting with something magical.
The structure was conceived to impose a sense of greatness: 2.3-meters tall iron structure and more than 70 Kg of weight, the object itself became doubtlessly imponent. To make it work, more than one hundred hours of labour were necessary: planning, replanning, wiring, soldering, testing and making sure it was safe. The result is a spectacular interactive installation that presents itself as a beautiful instrument, sound feeded by Imaginando's award winning virtual analog synthesizer DRC, running on a single computer board.
Harpa Laser can be remote controller by DRC allowing it sound to anything that can be synthesized with DRC sound engine. Each laser beam was programmed to play a note from a minor scale where the outer and longer laser beam would play a lower pitch. A random offset to the notes could be easily made by simply interacting with the last and shorter beam, providing variation while playing.
Harpa Laser is the result of a shared passion between Nuno Santos and Rui Antunes for music, art and technology.
For the last 15 years the two have grown together and evolved individually: Nuno became the founder of Imaginando, and Rui the founder of Analog Repair, a workshop in Lisbon dedicated to analog synthesizers repair.
After years of experience, the two joined forces to build an original synthesizer engine from scratch, merging the software development and system engineering skills of Nuno, and Rui's deep knowledge of analog electronics and synthesizer’s architecture.
After a year building the synthesises engine, they found the perfect motive to showcase it to the world: Inspired by the visionaire Jean Michel Jarre’s harpa laser, both decided to build their own while following a more conservative approach regarding the design of the object itself.
The idea was simple: to design and build a contemporary reinterpretation of the harp, replacing the strings for lasers and making the sound come out from a digital synthesizer.