Variations on Aeolian Dynamics: For Contained Winds (2021)

at the WindEEE Dome at Western

In the Fall of 2020, a small team entered the WindEEE Hexagonal Dome at Western University to explore the interactions of a dancer with and within a simulated tornado.  Our goal was to engage creatively with a force of nature distilled to movement and vorticity through precise engineering, and to document moments of connection in a controlled environment.  Due to Covid, itself a manifestation of the un-containable aspects of aerodynamics, this project pivoted to an online presentation, allowing digital media to become the mode of visualizing the effects of the wind on the body. 

In this case, the body was presented, as philosopher of architecture Greg Lynn would describe, as a diagram of ‘gradient forces’ through with a continuum of wind was expressed.  In stark contrast to the containment of the wind within highly specialized facilities of wind modelling and simulation, the project speaks to the ‘commonwealth’ of air as an opening point for both physical architectures to external atmospheres, but also to the metaphorical opening of in vitro and in silico spaces (lab and screen) to artistic expression and collaboration. 

This project was installed at the Macintosh Gallery in Western University in London, Ontario in Winter 2021; and will form part of a panel at the 4S symposium in the Fall 2021.

The project is indebted to :
David Han (Data Visualization), Natalie Plociennik (Graphic Design),  Simon Lynch (Production support), Jean-Pierre Marchant (videographer), Susan Lee (Dancer) and dancers Andrea, Bailey, Emily, Reece and Teagan from York University. 

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Etude 1: The WindEEE dome

discussions of wind loading with Professor Girma Birsuamlak (Western)

Etude 2 : Vortex (simulation of a simulation)


“Acknowledging that the living body. as it breathes, is necessarily swept up in the currents of the medium, I suggested that the wind is not so much embodied as the body enwinded.. .lt is like setting sail, launching the body into sound like a boat on the waves or, perhaps more appropriately. like a kite in the sky”

Ingold, Tim. “Against soundscape.” Autumn leaves: Sound and the environment in artistic practice (2007): 10-13.

Initial experiments here show Professor Susan Lee (York University) at the WindEEE dome in improvisational movements with the Tornado. Due to the pandemic, access to the site was restricted mid way through the production phase. We subsequently looked to motion capture as a way forward.

dancers from the York Dance Ensemble in their home studios
Mocap data is used to translate their improvisation to a digital environment
Final visualization sample

Etude 3 : aero-acoustic signature

“in short, the form of an object is a “diagram of forces” . . . that from it we can judge of or deduce the forces that are acting or have acted upon it: in this strict and particular sense, it is a diagram ”
D’Arcy Thompson (1917)

““Like all these long low squat houses, it had been built not for but against. They were built against the forest, against the sea, against the elements, against the world. They had roof-beams and doors and hatred – as though in this part of the world an architect always included hatred among his tools, and said to his apprentice: ‘Mind you’ve bought along enough hatred today.’Jane Gaskell, Some Summer Lands  (1977)

short snippets of music interludes that correspond to the movements of wind around a dome. (2 of 4 pieces at the gallery)

MACINTOSH GALLERY Walk through

For more gallery information please visit https://www.fieldtrip.art/field-trips/explorewrittenontheearth