Aeoliphones have been used in theater, cinema, opera, and film as follie devices since the the 17th century. The rotating cylinder rubs against the fabric draped over it. This friction creates a sound that registers in our ears as the sound of the wind itself. The 17th century composer Monteverdi commissioned 3 different sizes of aeliphones to create 3 different winds, each with their own connotations.
The effect is all they share. There is no mechanical similarity between the movement of fluids and the movement of the solid cylinder. When we hear the Aeoliphone move we register a wind even though none is felt or observed by any of the other senses.
Mobilizing the wind for centuries to create a sense of change and urgency has conditioned the senses themselves to short circuit the phenomenon for its significance. In a previous post I presented an AI in the works that gathers all associations with the wind cultivated throughout the history of art and literature.
The image is from a recent trip to the Stuttgart Opera. Their follie department lent us an aeoliphone. We took it outside to produce the sound of the wind to meet the actual wind. The aim was to see how they may interact and if one might be lost to the other or cohere with one another. I will be producing a work in September of this year for the Current Festival that considers bringing winds to the city that is locked within a valley and consider what the winds may bring with it to the city.
Contributed by: Haseeb Ahmed