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Resonance | Luke Jerram

October 23, 2009


Luke Jerram is an inventor, a researcher, an amateur scientist, an artist: a chameleon of sorts. This is how A.M.Crowley [Director of Eye Beam NY] describes Jerram. As a multidisciplinary artist, his practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects among others. His professional career as an artist began in 1997 and since that moment, Luke has created a number of extraordinary art projects, while interrogating knowledge, exploring ideas and calling his audience to share his wonderment at the world around us.

His project Resonance was inspired by his research trip to Iran where he saw the wind towers of Yadz, and interviewed a Qanat well digger in Esfahan. The well digger spoke of the desert wells singing in the wind.

A windcatcher is a traditional Persian architectural device used for many centuries to create natural ventilation in buildings. These wind catchers also called Badgirs, in the shape of square or octagon and staircase, are the most beautiful elements of old and, sometimes, new buildings of the cities of Yazd and Ardakan.


This project Resonance is an investigation into acoustics, wind and architecture, but also in to art and installation. It is based in create and design an architectural space that will resonate and sing with the wind. The artwork will tour the UK travelling from one wind swept rural location to another before finding a permanent home.

Resonance-moc-up 2

With a grant from EPRSC and the support of the acoustic engineering departments at the University of Southampton and Salford, a number of engineering options have been explored that make the movement of wind audible without any electrical power or amplification. Mapping the shifting landscape of wind around the building, the acoustics will change as the wind alters its direction and strength.



The use of Aeolian wind harps has been selected as a suitable technology. Long tensioned strings will resonate with the wind and will be heard by visitors inside the space (see the films below). The final design of the structure of the building will be made of hundreds of light pipes which will both draw the landscape of light into the building and hum at a series of low frequencies.




The use of acoustic engineering to make architecture is an old science, well know by it application in the design of opera houses and then concert halls. But we really liked this multidisciplinary approach made by Jerrow, with a complete and deep mix up of science, art, architecture and engineering.

Some videos about the process here.

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