Aeolus Notification System

  • image updated in real time showing lines connecting gallery location to the destination coordinates that visitors contribute to the system
    Data visualization
Joel Ong

“Why on earth do we ever leave this place no matter how fair the place may be, and then the next place, and the one after that, all our lives long, and I suspect beyond our lives here, because the voyage feels as though it reaches beyond the stars? Of course we never really know. To live is to leave, that is all. “

Excerpted from Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat (HarperSanFrancisco, 1985), pp 119-123

We are all pilgrims acting on a universal desire to progress or return to one space and the next. The alternations of an ever-changing wind mirror our desires to be ‘wherever the wind blows’.

In Odysseus’ journey, the bag of wind bestowed upon him by Aeolus would contain the wind necessary for him to sail home.  Like a sailboat moving in harmony and alignment towards its destination, this project aims to endow the visitor with a symbolic bag of winds, acknowledging whenever the wind blows in the direction of his/her destination.  Aeolus_Installation view

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A symbolic “bag of winds”, every visitor to the exhibition space receives a bag with a printed image of Athanasius Kircher’s wind driven musical instrument, inside containing a small compass that would help him/her turn in the direction of the ensuing wind.  Considered to be the father of aeolian instrumentation, Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) was a polymath whose many innovations and drawings set the academic and technological imagination for current inventions in sound and visual media.

ANS_flowchartSYSTEM: [When the visitor enters the gallery, he is asked to enter a destination address on a computer.  The system searches for its geographical coordinates and adds this to a database that is then visualized on a world map in real time.  Real time wind data is sonified into a 6 channel soundscape at the gallery’s location.  For a month after the project, wind directional data is harvested and every time the wind blows in the direction of the visitor’s chosen direction, the system sends him/her an SMS notification.]

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