New Zealand: Wind sensor sculpture in Wellington

I visited Wellington on a trip to New Zealand in November, 1996. For photos and more information see the wind sensor sculpture page. The sculpture is unforgettable and the power of its presence becomes stronger over time. Here what happened in the Botanic Garden.

"The Wellington Botanic Garden is really a wonderful place. You could spend hours, see very beautiful plants from all over the world, even walk back downtown. I really enjoyed portions. And moments. I'm on Manuka way. I heard a scream, so went this way. I'm hearing bangs (guns?).

On the Druid path I came upon a copper coiled sculpture that looked very close to my visions. Actually it looked like a twister, with a high round crown and tapering tail, suspended from a disk on pillars. It was called a "Listening and Viewing Device," by Andrew Drummond, commissioned by a sculpture group and the city. I read the plaque and thought the interior would be for visions and altered sounds.

cross-section Inside, you see the narrower shape colored in purple on my drawing. So at least the upper part, if not the whole twister is double wall. The two top rings and four pillars are shown in dotted line so they don't get mixed up with the form.

There were two supports, so it could swing. The form is made of 2" copper tubing coiled. It was dented and not very regularly soldered. Crude joints, like little funnels overlapping at the end. All soldered together. I think it was 1994. The bottom of the form was suspended about a meter from the ground. The whole about 15-20 feet tall, say 7 meters. There were 7 circles (lines in the concrete base).

I stuck my head up inside it, stood inside it and wasn't sure that what I heard was any different from what I heard outside it. Also I looked up and saw sky. I tried to tune in, but felt sort of self-conscious in this device. I couldn't hear or view anything special, but did feel wind in there.

I'm totally lost in this park. When I left I heard a strange sound, a mechanized bird cry. First thought it was a bird and thought I had read something about it in the Notes on NZ book. Then, when the sound repeated several times, seemingly exactly alike, I thought that it must be some activated recording. Later heard it in a different part of the park, so perhaps it was really a bird.

I was supposed to contact wind today. I thought of it occasionally, but it was an almost windless day. Maybe that's the null wind! It did rain and sun and cloud and continually change between these all day, causing great costume adjustments of my jacket."

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