Di Mainstone began her research by exploring the role of a bridge player with dancer Hollie Miller, who subsequently became Human Harp's original movician. The movician was a player of the Human Harp who controlled the sounds of the bridge via their body movement and interaction with the Human Harp's string like interface which connected to the bridge.
“We observed that the string mapped Hollie’s position via a physical line from its origin onto her body. We liked the physical aspect of the string as a sound tool (rather than motion tracking for example) as it allowed the movement of the user (or movician) to be plotted in a sculptural way, creating a visible trace between the performer and the bridge” Di Mainstone
Next, Di built a wearable holster around Hollie that would connect her body to the bridge via the Human Harp. This holster needed to be both rigid and flexible and they decided to work with leather.
“We knew the holster needed to be solid so that it would not pull away from the body and prevent the user (movician) from sensing the tension and pull of the harps strings that would be fixed to it. It also needed to have the capability to expand and contract like an armadillo or a piece of plate armour, and as such became a mechanism in its own right” Di Mainstone
Working with product designer, Lea Aubertin, the team devised a plug-like device that contained magnets to connect the retractable chords to the holster. The plug was created in Rhino, ensuring that it could be made using fab-lab tools (laser cutter) as part of the open-source concept.
“During the workshops at CIID we explored ways of clipping the strings to holsters on the body. We investigated karabiner clips, hooks and magnets. Of all the iterations, magnets felt the most fluid way to apply and reapply the strings to the body” DI MAINSTONE