Aeolian City, Nocturne 2022
Aeolian City is a site-responsive auditory installation. In this first iteration of the project, 9 wind-activated “harps” were installed in various locations in Halifax, NS as part of the 15th annual Nocturne: Art at Night festival (October 13-15 2022).
Aeolian vibrations (named for Aeolus, the Greek god of the wind) are the source of the sound: Strings of equal length and varying thicknesses are strung and tuned to the same pitch. When they vibrate in the wind they produce mysterious harmonic overtones which float and dissipate into the general soundscape, at times consumed or overridden by the noise of the city. The artwork itself is carried in the air, resonating and alive, ephemeral and intermittent.
The visually subtle components were installed throughout the city, creating a network of auditory experience for those walking the city streets. Printed maps were made available at Propeller Brewery (2015 Gottingen St.), the MacPhee Centre (50 Queen St.), and the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (1546 Barrington St.) indicating the various installation locations, as well as a PDF version which is still available for download on this page.
“Sound is intrinsically and unignorably relational: it emanates, propagates, communicates, vibrates, and agitates; it leaves a body and enters others; it binds and unhinges, harmonizes and traumatizes; it sends the body moving, the mind dreaming, the air oscillating. It seemingly eludes definition, while having profound effect.”Brandon LaBelle. 2015. Background Noise, Second Edition : Perspectives on Sound Art. Vol. Second edition. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
Download a PDF version of the Aeolian City Guide Map below!
or click here to check out a list of all 9 locations on Google Maps
Sound Intervention – Beginnings
This earlier aeolian experiment interacted with the soundscape of a popular walking trail on the south shore of Nova Scotia. With less external bustling noise to compete with. Like my more recent work, the source of the tones was not readily visible, hard to spot, perhaps never known. Through this piece I hoped to provoke the public to contemplate the tension in the air; an eerie anticipation, otherworldly stillness, but simultaneously in motion, active.
Down a meandering path across an open, frozen cove, through a forested area leading out to the far end of the walking loop. To the right there is a rocky shoal which extends out into the ocean, but most wouldn’t bother looking, let alone walking that way; it marks the far end of the beach. What I hope will happen next: A pause — Something otherworldly… A heightened awareness of the surrounding space; a mysterious chorus of tones; the tension between stillness and movement; the waves crashing and the trees swaying; footsteps echo on wood, crunch through snow, muffle in sand.