Ken Gregory :  “Wind, Coil, Sound, Flow”

By Julia Bradshaw

Ken Gregory “Wind, Coil, Sound, Flow”, City Hall Rotunda, ZERO1, 2010 Photo Credit: Patrick Lydon

One of ZERO1’s greatest attributes is that the artist often is present with his or her installation. I visited “Wind, Coil, Sound, Flow” the installation in the City Hall rotunda created by artist Ken Gregory twice. The first time, surrounded by the chattering classes at the ZERO1 art opening; it was impossible to do more than merely project that I was looking at a musical instrument of some sort. The second time, taking a quiet moment from the Global Warming Symposium, I could hear the pops and the clicks and eerie tones dispersing around the now quiet rotunda. Yes, the artist is present and was happy to explain how he collected his sounds from flying kites – the piece is inspired by the Aeolian Kite instrument.

Ken Gregory “Wind, Coil, Sound, Flow”, City Hall Rotunda, ZERO1, 2010

The sculptural piece situated in the rotunda consists of four umbrella shaped objects suspended in the air from four almost prow-like  wood frames. From each ‘umbrella’ a tawt piano wire runs to an anchor point – reminiscent of an instrument and the neck of a four string guitar. At this anchor point each piano wire meets a metal coil that transmits a sound. “Old technology” is how Gregory describes this part of the artwork. Using electronic pick-ups, Gregory developed a process for capturing the sounds from the oscillations caused by the changing tension on a kite string. These sounds are now transmitted into the “Wind, Coil, Sound, Flow” instrument and reverberate around the space. The piece is about twenty meters long and is constructed from raw unfinished lumber; the ‘umbrellas have a linen and paper like quality.  The piece feels very clean and light and suits the light, bright and airy rotunda space. Sitting in the space one is entranced by a soothing drone, a hypnotic sound-scape that is interspersed by clicks and pops. Put your head close to one of the umbrellas and it feels like a listening chamber, the aural experience is heightened.

Ken Gregory “Wind, Coil, Sound, Flow”, City Hall Rotunda, ZERO1, 2010 Photo Credit: Patrick Lydon

An artist from Canada Gregory has shown his work at many international sound festivals. You may listen to the work at www.cheapmeat.net

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