As you look over the panoramic of beaches and chalky cliffs on the east Kent coast, it’s impossible to ignore the silent white giants on the horizon. An addition to the British seaside landscape, the offshore wind turbine’s motion awakens the still waters and breaks the horizontal static skyline. Facing the land in precisely organised rows, their blades spin in a patterned motion – fixating the wind in tangible form.
This work focuses on that very transduction; the process of converting energy, using one form to create another. The movement of wind passing through a responsive structure creates a visual language which ultimately allows for the witnessing of an invisible phenomena - the air currants travelling through our shores. Although this occurrence produces a source of usable energy, it also produces a coincidental aesthetic - a visual synchronisation between nature and the human world. The aesthetic is open to creative perception but to me, it's a stimulus that elicits a sound world - the motion of the turbines is a language which relates to tone, oscillation and rhythm. The turbines' rotation is perhaps like a record spinning on a turntable or a spool of magnetic tape in a cassette. This in its self presents questions surrounding pitch; slower rotations on analogue mediums such as vinyl lowers the pitch of a sound recording. There's also a strong visualisation of rhythm; the blades passing the turbines mast (tower); what if this occurrence produced a sound? Like two solid objects being struck repetitively.
I'm fascinated by the notion of furthering the transduction; wind > to movement > to usable energy > to movement language > to sound > > to aesthetic.
A Sound Instrument:
In total, the installation will consist of multiple custom made record players and locked groove' vinyl records. Installed within an area which looks out to the vast wind farms, individual turntables will be allocated a corresponding wind turbine. The movement of each turbine is tracked, allowing for an accurate log of the blade positions and the speed at which they're rotating. This will in turn inform the behaviour of each record player. The vinyl records will contain three percussive sounds, evenly spaced to represent each blade on the turbine. As the blades on the turbine pass the tower (mast), the percussive sound passes the record player needle. The records will also contain a single sine wave - the speed of a rotation will not only determine tempo in rhythm, but also the pitch of the sine wave; the slower the sound passes through the needle, the lower in pitch it’ll be, and vice versa. The record players will be protected from the elements and will be the transmitter of sound (the speaker) - achieved through contact speakers attached internally.
This video DOES NOT represent the actual turntables that are being developed, nor does it represent a specific location - it simply provides an overview of the concept with a very basic simulation of the sound work in situ.