Client: Private Commission
Location: Montreal, Canada
Completion date: 2018
Synthesizing elements from ancient and contemporary practices, Whispers is conceived as both a supernatural experience and mind and body training session exploring the boundaries of elemental sensation. Executed to dramatic effect on a large scale, the piece enacts a sense of natural spectacle that simultaneously draws upon the notion of ritual. The immersive wind therapy session evolves from a mesmerizing hypnotic build to an overwhelming amplitude of strength, combining forces both subtle and powerful to evoke an experience that touches the sublime. Whispers exists in the space between fear and enchantment, invoking the power of the invisible.
We wanted to create a piece capable of generating intense emotion using invisible forces. The wind acts as an intangible supernatural force, while immersing the viewer in a physical experience. The combination of those two aspects fosters a special relationship within the installation as the spectator experiences a cathartic involvement with the piece.
After extensive research and development, the work was created over a period of six months. We went through various tests of different scales and spent two months intensely working onsite fine-tuning the effects of the wind, the movement of the tarps and the lighting. The ephemeral nature of working with wind as a medium, meant that the effects are incredibly site specific and highly dependent on the external environment. As part of the research phase, we spent time at the Montreal airport testing and consulting with engineers who work on jet engines. We worked collaboratively in a team consisting of an engineer with a speciality in wind dynamic, an audio engineer, lighting designer and interactive designer.
17 high power fans are individually hacked and controlled digitally to create a wind choreography. Each fan has specific strengths and placement angles to move the tarps in a synchronized dance. Two of the fans that are used are the most powerful electrical fans in the world and generate up to 100km/hr winds. This is the equivalent to a severe storm but only uses the same amount of energy as a Tesla car accelerating.