A giant red cylinder that emanates musical sounds generated by prevailing winds has taken root in Sydney’s CBD – appropriately outside the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Some 10 metres high and five metres round, the steel, plastic and timber installation aims to deliver a range of sounds courtesy of three large Aeolian Harps acoustically placed in the cylinder.
Called “Songlines,” the installation (pictured) is the brainchild of Sydney architect Joe Snell and has been created as part of The Con’s public Open Day on Sunday 29 March 2009.
“The inspiration for Songlines is drawn from Bruce Chatwin’s interpretation of Indigenous Australian’s ancient invisible pathways told in song,” commented Snell, who is co-founder of DARCH, the Emerging Architects of NSW and Creative Director of the Smart Light Sydney 2009 Festival.
“They told stories and sang songs to communicate pathways across the terrain, understanding their place
in this vast continent and nature’s power. Here, with the harps as a metaphor, Songlines equally draws on the powers of nature to produce a musical communication in a most harmonious and sustainable way.”
There will be different tones for each of Sydney’s prevailing winds – north-easterly’s, southerly’s and westerly’s.
The cylinder is pixelated through thousands of coloured plastic strips and designed to flutter and flourish with each distinct breeze – like a gust of wind on a field of wheat or across a body of water.
A golden low energy power source in the centre of the cylinder will provide varying shades of light between dusk and dawn, ranging from translucent glows to radiant bursts.
Each harp has stainless steel strings, varying in diameter – the thinner strings will deliver a lighter tone,
while a deeper darker tone will emerge from the thicker strings.
One of the world’s leading wind harp experts, Alan Lamb, provided advice on a special pulley system to help control the tension of each set of strings to blend with the changing wind direction.
The installation will be jointly launched today by the Minister Assisting the Premier on The Arts, Virginia
Judge and the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore MP.
For more information about The Con’s public Open Day on Sunday 29 March 2009 visit the Sydney Conservatorium of Music website http://www.music.usyd.edu.au/