This 10-Ton Singing Sculpture Could Be Yours For Less Than $2!
January 29, 2013
Attention acoustics nerds, sculpture enthusiasts, and optics buffs: If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to start your own sculpture park, are holding out for a really great chuppah, or just need a superlative Valentine’s Day gift idea, this may be the deal for you. The British inventor and public-art mastermind Luke Jerram is auctioning off Aeolus, a 10-ton steel-and-string acoustic wind pavilion that whirs and whistles in the breeze like a giant mohawk-shaped harp. Jerram spent three years and £250,000 (about $392,575) constructing the sculpture. Bidding, which opened yesterday, starts at just £1. Read more!
Photo: Andy Spain
Named for the Greek god of wind, Aeolus is outfitted with 65-foot strings that sing in the breeze. Three hundred ten steel tubes amplify the windsong while also humming in their own deep tones. “The aim is for the public to be able to visualize this shifting wind map by interpreting the sound around them,” writes Jerram. Stand under the arch and you’ll see the sky segmented into hundreds of circles, each reflecting its pinhole mini-landscape in polished steel.
The view through one of Aeolus‘s tubes.
The artist began work on Aeolus following a 2007 trip to Iran, where he learned about wells dug into the desert that, in the right conditions, make music in the breeze. After spending some time with a welldigger, Jerram wanted to explore how to reproduce the effect using architecture. ”It sounds quite unearthly,” Jerram says of the aeolian harp, which is the basis for his sculpture. “It always sounds like the aliens landing. It’s quite mysterious and beautiful. It’s also hard to predict the sound that’s going to be produced from a string.”
See Aeolus in action in this video:
After a successful tour in the UK in 2011, the sculpture has been sitting idle in storage—hence Jerram’s decision to make a Craigslist-style appeal. His ad begins, “Unusual Property for Auction—0 bedrooms, Noisy at times.” The artist opened up bidding not just to collectors and art institutions, but to anyone with treeless clearing of space, a consistent breeze of at least five miles per hour, and £11,000 (in the UK) or $69,000 (US) to spend on shipping and installation. But wait, there’s more!
He’s also throwing in spare parts, plus a 3D CAD model to help you envision the work at your site. It also helps if you have access to a pressure washer, because Aeolus requires an annual hosedown. Here are the installation guidelines and the application form. The deadline for your sealed bid, with application, is July 1; Jerram will announce the winner by August 1. Proceeds will fund future public artworks by the artist, who is the mastermind behind the Play Me, I’m Yours traveling street pianos and a collaborator in the Sky Orchestra, which serenades sleeping Londoners with sunrise concerts conducted from a half-dozen hot-air balloons. (Jerram also made these nifty solar-powered kinetic chandeliers, which we ogled here.)
If you win, send us a note and tell us about your plans!
Closeup with harp strings.
All images courtesy of Luke Jerram