This is Aeolus, an Acoustic Wind Pavilion, a giant string instrument that is played by the wind. UK-based artist Luke Jerram named the piece after Aeolus, the ruler of the four winds in Greek mythology. Via Joe Hanson:
The arch is a large Aeolian harp, an ancient instrument that uses the wind’s vibration on strings to send a frequency down a long metal tube.
A listener in the center of the arch experiences sounds transmitted from a field of taut strings and naturally harmonic open tubes. In addition, the angle of light transmitted through the polished pipes creates an altered listening environment. The experience can change by the minute or hour depending on wind conditions.
The tightened strings vibrate due to something called the von Karman vortex street effect, where the vortex created behind a string causes it to vibrate. It’s similar to what happens when a car antenna begins to sing in the wind.
Jerram also describes it as “almost like cats’ whiskers, sensitive to the slightest touch.” Listen to more sound samples on Soundcloud.
Via Luke Jerram, listen to more Aeolus in this video filmed at the Eden Project, an educational charity and sustainable ecosystems exhibition space located in Cornwall.
Related activity: Blow across the tops of some bottles.
Related videos include England’s Singing Ringing Tree, as well as the sound of Tibetan Singing Bowls.
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