Every now and then you come across something that's so weird, impractical and cool that you just have to have one. Not that Ive got anywhere that I could put this but I want one all the same.
Aeolus is a giant stringed musical instrument, an acoustic and optical pavilion designed by Luke Jerram to make audible the silent shifting patterns of the wind and to visually amplify the ever changing sky.
The sculpture a giant aeolian harp, designed to resonate and sing with the wind without any electrical power or amplification. Vibrations in strings attached to some of the tubes are transferred through skins covering the tops, and projected down through the tubes towards the viewer standing beneath the arch.
Aeolus sonifies the three dimensional landscape of wind, using a web of aeolian harp strings. Almost like cats' whiskers sensitive to the slightest touch, the stings register the shifting landscape of wind around the artwork to be heard by visitors. The aim is for the public to be able to visualise this shifting wind map by interpreting the sound around them.
For those tubes without strings attached, the tubes are tuned to an aeolian scale and hum at a series of low frequencies even when its not windy.
Beneath the arch a viewer can look out through a field of 310 internally polished stainless steel tubes simultaneously, each of which draws the landscape of light through the structure whilst humming at a series of low frequencies. These light pipes act to frame, invert and magnify the landscape around the pavilion enabling the viewer to contemplate an ever changing landscape of light. As the clouds and sun move across the sky throughout the day, the visual experience for the public will dramatically alter minute by minute, hour by hour.
As the arch is double curved, (a wedge section taken from a sphere) acoustics under the arch are extraordinary. The arch acts as an acoustic lens, focusing any sounds made by the tubes (or by a visitor standing under the arch) to a central point. A bizarre echo can be heard. Jerram witnessed this effect whilst in Iran studying the geometry and acoustic properties of mosques. See film on you tube.
Discovered by chance, the wider end of the arch also acts as a mild sonic crystal filtering sounds from one side of the tubes to the other.
If you found this article useful please share it and help spread the word.
You may also be interested in these posts from the blog.