Date: 
Sunday, September 18, 2011 - 09:00

A giant sculpture which sings in the wind has been unveiled at the Eden Project.

Aeolus, a 10-tonne, six metre-high piece of artwork made of 310 stainless steel tubes, is situated high over Eden’s Biomes in the Wild Chile area, which has views that stretch down to the sea.

From today, September 19, to Sunday, October 9, visitors will be able to walk under the arched sculpture and listen to its haunting melodies dictated by the wind while seeing the landscape reflected through its mirror-lined pipes.

When weather conditions are suitable, this giant example of an Aeolian harp creates sounds without any electrical power or amplification. Even when it’s not windy, the 2.5m-long tubes hum at a series of low frequencies and intriguing acoustic effects can be heard below the arch.

Bristol artist Luke Jerram collaborated with acoustic specialists from the University of Southampton and University of Salford to design Aeolus, which explores the science of acoustics, wind, architecture and light.

It’s on show at Eden as part of a national tour which began at Lyme Park in Cheshire last month and will go on to MediaCityUK in Salford next month.

Luke said: “The art work sings in two different ways. Firstly, you’ve got a network of strings which vibrate and sound a bit like aliens landing so anyone standing underneath the arch can hear the vibrations.

“But also the tubes hum as well at a series of low frequencies and are tuned to an Aeolian scale.

“All the tubes are mirror-lined as well so if you stand underneath the arch you can see through a lot of the tubes at the same time and they draw in the landscape and light into the sculpture, changing according to the time of day and weather.”

Eden visitors can see Aeolus, which is included in the price of admission, in Wild Chile, which is close to the Pineapple and Strawberry car parks.

Information on how the sculpture was designed and built is being displayed in Eden’s Core education centre.

Aeolus is also part of a programme of science public engagement involving schools, community groups, museums, art galleries and science fairs. On September 28, 80 pupils from Brannel secondary, Charlestown and St Stephen Churchtown primary schools will visit Eden to take part in a sound workshop on Aeolus and create a composition inspired by the sculpture. The event is hosted by Music Cornwall and the Aeolus project team.

Aeolus is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Arts Council England with structural engineering design services provided by the engineering and design consultancy, Arup.

For more information on Aeolus go to: www.aeolus-outreach.com or www.aeolus.org.uk.