Wind Tunnel Model (Venice)


Wind sculpture

4.00 x 6.00 x 1.60 m


Wind Tunnel Model (Venice)

Following the invitation to exhibit in a solo show at the Research Pavillon in Venice (curators: Henk Slager, Jan Kaila) a “Gallera del Vento” was installed from 8 July to 13 August, 2017. A wind engine from Zurich was brought to the opening and than the same routine was followed for five consecutive weeks: from Tuesdays to Fridays, and on Sundays, the artist sailed out to various abandoned islands in the lagoon in search of building materials, at different times of day depending on the wind and tide. He spent the rest of the day building the wind tunnel from the pieces found. The sailing boat was a Pirate (boat class) fitted out with golden sails. The islands visited on these trips included Isola La Grazia, Isola Poveglia, Isola S. Angelo della Polvere, Isola S. Giorgio in Alga, etc. Online documentation of the trips was posted simultaneously and remains accessible (see below). The wind tunnel completed during the show—the casing of the wind sculpture—was dismantled after the closing event and reinstalled by the artist in the Caserma Pepe on Lido.

Artistic concept
When the wind blows, things change. This forces us to reflect. Our senses show us one part, a surface, an effect. Yet more lies behind, undisclosed. We sense that something lies behind, waiting to be dis-covered. Just as we sense that we might be rewarded if we make an effort, if we search, if we venture forth into the unknown. If we question, and if we put ourselves into question.

Will we be able to bear standing in the wind? Will we be able to accept that our way of thinking has flaws, that it deceives itself all too willingly? That we believe that we are thinking “independently” whereas in fact we are satisfying our personal patterns all too readily? And might switching between verbal and nonverbal expression be one of the few practices in which we can reveal both ourselves and our self-repeating patterns?

Where is the wind when it isn’t blowing? Where is research when it isn’t doing research? Does it still exist then? Shouldn’t we speak of “researching” instead of “research”? And shouldn’t we understand research as a human activity in which we ask too much of ourselves to reach the open, unclarified sphere? Isn’t “researching” an activity that leads us away from certainty?
Can objectives be imposed on research? Isn’t it rather like the wind, which we can at best guide and shape? Who wanted to lock up the wind? Who wanted to force art to do something? Isn’t this rather one of the few social spheres in which we can conceive of the impossible, the unthinkable? And doesn’t this make it a most important force, one which will strengthen society in the long term?

Yes, it’s draughty when one stands in the wind. Yes, the wind makes you feel cold. Without the wind, though, it gets sticky. Without the wind, it gets hot and oppressive. We are living in oppressive times. I see a world in which one country after another is closing itself off out of fear of the international wind. I see a world that is increasingly forbidding itself any imponderability, any draught, also at home, out of a demand for security. I am a friend of small winds. But yet I don’t like storms.


Sailing and Building Crew
Kaspar König (3.7.–24.7. & 7.8.–15.8.2017) and the following students: Daniel Barnbeck (3.7.–17.7.), Kathrin Doppler (1.8.–7.8.), Fabian Gutscher (7.8.–15.8.), Heiko Schätzle (24.7.–31.7.), Eirini Sourgiadaki (1.8.–7.8.), Yamu Wang (24.7.–31.7.) and Lydia Zimmermann (17.7.–24.7.).

The artist also acknowledges the many supporters, esp.:
Giolia Mazzorin, Andrea Curtoni, Seppo Salminen, Jan Kaila, Ugo Carmeni, Sibylle Boppart, Giaco Schiesser, Sarine Waltenspül, Jacqueline Wolf, Sandi Paucic, Anton Rey, Thomas Grunwald, Peter Hilfiker, Teresa Sollfrank, Jan Svenungsson, Edvin, Andrea, Bruce, Fabio, Adi, Matti, Chiara, Berit, Ale, Orseola, Sara, Anita, Frederique, Cecilia, Antonio et al. The project was funded by Zurich University of the Arts.


Collateral Symposiums
How did, and how will, Venice benefit from the wind?
Saturday, 15. July 2017 – Gold from Gust
Venice obviously owes a large part of its treasures to the wind, ever since sailing boats brought trade to the city from all over the world. What are the physical vestiges of that rich and golden history? What did the wind do? What is it doing today? Which role will it play in Venice’s future?
With Olivier Chazot, Michelangelo Corsaro, Andrea Curtoni, Giulia Mazzorin and Florian Dombois.

How to share, how to challenge artistic practice and production?
Saturday, 22. July 2017 – In the Agora of Art
(in cooperation with Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology, Zurich)
One very basic description of scientific research defines it as “sharable” and “challengeable.” How can these two claims be translated into the art world? Which forms of sharing exist between artists, and which ones need to be developed? How do artists challenge each other’s work, and which new modes of debate need to be developed?
With Peter Ablinger, Ari Benjamin Meyers, Stefan Prins, Germán Toro Pérez and Florian Dombois.

How might artists collaborate with researchers from the natural and human sciences?
Saturday, 29. July 2017 – Friendship of Artists and Scientists
(in cooperation with Institute for Performing Arts and Film, Zurich)
All scientists seeking transdisciplinarity seem to have a problem. Whether this problem arises within or outside the sciences is intensely debated. But isn’t thinking in problems itself problematic? How can people who don’t share a problem work together? And how might people who don’t even share thinking in problems work together? A Talk and a workshop on “Art, Confessions and an EEG”.
With Thomas Grunwald, Peter Hilfiker, Anton Rey, Sarine Waltenspül
and Florian Dombois.

How does something become art?
Saturday, 5. August 2017 – Not-yet Art. And for Good Reasons!?
(in cooperation with Institute for Critical Theory, Zurich)
Knowledge production is a much discussed issue. But does the research done at art universities perhaps not “produce” any “knowledge”? Well, why should it? Do artists actually need knowledge? What do artists need to make “something” into art? Perhaps research departments should “produce” this “something”? Something that isn’t yet art, but almost?
With Anna Engberg-Pedersen, Tom Holert, Dieter Mersch, Hito Steyerl and Florian Dombois.



Further reading a.o.
Florian Dombois (ed.): “The Wind Tunnel Model – Transdisciplinary Encounters.” Zurich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2017.

The Research Pavilion 2017 The Utopia of Access was initiated by the University of the Arts Helsinki. The Pavilion was realized together with the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme and the Swedish Art Universities’ collaboration Konstex in co-operation with the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Zurich University of the Arts.