WHISPERING WIND IN LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS
Whispering Wind is an art installation in Leiden, the Netherlands, implemented in November 2017. Created by Edwin van der Heide and Marcel Cobussen, it consists of a wall relief and generative sound composition. The project aims to transform a passage into a unique sensory experience, connecting the academic world with the surrounding environment.
Binaural recording of Whispering Wind captured on January 29, 2021. © Edwin van der Heide
Whispering Wind is situated in a passage that traverses underneath a Leiden University building, creating a new pathway between the Leiden Observatory and the Hortus Botanicus, both elements in a park in the city center. It consists of a 12.5 by 2.5 meter wall relief and an eight-channel generative sound composition. The composition generates a continuum with a varying interplay of soft swooshing wind, silence, and human speech .
Whispering Wind provides the passage with a specific, unforeseen identity and creates a cocoon in which the sounds envelop the listener.
Whispering Wind makes a connection between the academic world inside of the building and the everyday human and natural life outside. Traversing an ostensibly insignificant space - an underpass - turns into a special, multi-sensorial experience, reinforcing the relation between spatiality, corporeality, and immersive perception. It is as if the site attempts to communicate with the passers-by while simultaneously connecting and interacting with the extant and familiar sonic environment .
Whispering Wind is not only, and perhaps not even in the first place, aesthetically motivated. Instead, the work commences from the question of how art can insert its influence within public spaces and thereby realize a change in behavior of people moving through those spaces. Moreover, it makes listeners aware of and even encourages them to (re)structure their sonic environment. It is in this sense that Whispering Wind can be understood as a socio-politically inspired research-in-and-through-artmaking .
 Van der Heide, E. (2017). Fluisterende Wind. http://www.evdh.net/fluisterende_wind/
 Cobussen, M. (2019). “Artistic Research and Sound Art in Public Urban Spaces.” In P. De Assis and L. D’Errico (eds.), Artistic Research. Charting a Field in Expansion. London: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 98-112.
Entry submitted by: Marcel Cobussen and Edwin van der Heide