Written Commission: Wind Theory
Lauren Carroll Harris
Throughout art history, artists have found inspiration in the sun, the water and the mountains, and light and colour. But what of the borderlessness of a less-explored natural element: the wind? Wind is everywhere and nowhere. It crosses territorial zones and can’t be contained, seen or photographed directly. It’s more than air in motion; without its five major wind zones, most of Earth would be uninhabitable and the oceans would have no currents. From the updrafts supporting the wedge-tailed eagle to the skies above Darug and Gadigal lands, this audiovisual essay references commissioned works in BLEED’s Echo program, cinema history and literature to form a new digital collage of the wind above the Yass Valley, a grasslands ecosystem, in a stage of post-drought growth in August 2022.
At first the planets were cold and still
Now, all we can ever see is its effects
Without form, without visibility
Many of its movements are lateral, horizontal, layered
Up there, a hitchhiking bird of prey coasts on its updraft for up to ninety minutes at a time, reaching altitudes of higher than two kilometres and beating it into shape with its wind. The true eagle spots its prey and swoops
…in trade belts, prevailing westerlies, polar easterlies, in land and sea breezes, in mountain and valley breezes, in Hadley cells near the equator and Ferrel cells in the mid-latitudes
Above, these renaissance skies, with their floating cloud palettes, empathise with you.
“Air masses moving from land out over the ocean start with average concentrations of around 500 bacteria per cubic meter…”
“Clouds are probably the greatest concentrators of airborne micro-life…”
“The immediate source of many potential pathogens lies in the air and on high-level winds. it seems that nothing anywhere is immune from seeding by the wind.”
But who has seen it? Now, we know a mass movement, an invisible breath that leaves the rest of us living
References and clips
Dean Cross, you can never touch your shadow, 2022
EarthWindMap, https://classic.nullschool.net captured on August 23, over Yass Valley
Andrei Tarkovosky, The Mirror, 1975
Lyall Watson, Heaven’s Breath: A Natural History of the Wind, 1984
Jodie Whalen, Endless Blue Edge, 2022
Download the text only transcript here
- Writer - Lauren Carroll Harris
- Wind Theory is commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Centre as part of BLEED 2022.
BLEED (Biennial Live Event in the Everyday Digital) was conceived by Campbelltown City Council through Campbelltown Arts Centre, and the City of Melbourne through Arts House. BLEED 2022 is produced and presented by Campbelltown City Council through Campbelltown Arts Centre, and the City of Melbourne through Arts House, Taipei Performing Arts Center and Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. BLEED has been supported by the Taiwan Ministry of Culture and Cultural Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Sydney.