Listening to Sculpture

Wellington has great public art scattered throughout the city, from concrete poetry embedded in the windswept waterfront:

public sculpture 01

To wind-powered kinetic art that I can see from my lounge: Phil Price’s Zephyrometer (I swear sometimes the wind is so strong that I have almost seen that orange pointer so oblique its blocking traffic!)

public sculpture 02

And Phil Dadson’s Akau Tangi which glows beautifully at night via wind powered LEDs

public sculpture 03

But there was one sculpture that I knew existed, but had been delaying visiting, so as to savour it…. So last Saturday, on what felt like the first day of spring (& coincidentally while my girlfriend was here on holiday) we went for a walk to find it: Andrew Drummonds Listening and Viewing Device

public sculpture 04

While taking these photos it was interesting to see other people come across the sculpture and engage with it – you don’t get a sense of scale from the above photo, but the sculpture would be over 4m high & as the sign says, it is a Listening and Viewing Device

public sculpture 05

If you can imagine what an old fashioned ear horn does for the hard of hearing, then you will have an idea of what its like to experience this sculpture. But like any environmental art, it is influenced by its surroundings. When we visited on a sunny day it amplified the drone of the distant city, but I can only imagine what it sounds like during gale force winds…. And the next time we have one I’ll be revisiting it with my record kit!

public sculpture 06

Listening via Andrew Drummonds sculpture reminded me of an experience I had in Japan, visiting an art gallery & coming across the work of sound artist Fujimoto Yukio – to see an empty chair sitting in a gallery with two pipes mounted obviously at head height made me smile at the beautiful simplicity of it, but also at the anticipation of what the world would feel like sitting on that seat, quietly listening…. Such moments are to be treasured.

Fujimoto Yukio

8 thoughts on “Listening to Sculpture

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Music of Sound » Listening to Sculpture -- Topsy.com

  2. Connor Walsh

    Tim do you count those perforated steel wind breakers around the trees on Cheffers Quay as intentionally audible sculpture? I love the whiiiiiislting sound they make!

    1. tim Post author

      true!
      in fact its surprising no one has commissioend a wind harp for Wellington, apart from the fact it would probably be 130dB during every second storm that comes along!

  3. michael cacioppo belantara

    Hi Tim,

    I’ve been a casual reader for a year or so now. Thank you very much for the very interesting blog. I’m originally from Colorado and am currently a music producer, audio/visual engineer, and audio/visual lecturer at Futureworks in Manchester UK.

    This post in particular made me think that you might be interested in a project that my wife Amanda Belantara is working on …. Essentially the University of Salford and the University of Southampton along with artist Luke Jerram are building a very expensive and elaborate singing sculpture that will tour the UK next year. Amanda is in charge of the public engagement as well as the ‘making of’ documentation, recording, and the website.

    I’ve also noticed that you are interested in the sounds of Japan – and as such – you may be interested in seeing and listening to a film Amanda made in Japan in 2009 – a collective exploration of the sounds that surround us – info here: …. It is also available on Vimeo …

    Thanks so much again for your weblog and your contributions to the audio community.

    Michael Cacioppo Belantara

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