"Wind Tunnel: the Hongshan Experiment" is the debut collaborative work by Charles Lindsay b. 1961, San Francisco, USA and Shaoyu Su, b. 1990 Tianjin, China. This commissioned installation integrates the artists’ shared interests in deep time, ancient history, far futures and the phenomena of technology.
Wind tunnels are utilized by the aerospace industry to study aerodynamics. This wind tunnel is a device for artistic research and the exploration of time and space as a malleable continuum, uniting the past, the future, and the alien. Lindsay experimented with sound convolution and the perception of space in the world’s largest wind tunnel at NASA Ames. Here aural information connects divergent epochs, adding a sonic stratigraphy to the visceral experience. Wind becomes a medium for commentary on what is invisible - a metaphor for the flow of ideas, data, and time itself.
Future Human, located in the middle chamber, is a CnC sculptural work derived from one of Lindsay’s “CARBON” process negatives, which Su transformed from microscopic data into both ambiguous topography and future artifact.
Future Paradox, located in the third chamber, references the Fermi Paradox. Named after physicist Enrico Fermi, this is the apparent contradiction created by the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial civilizations despite the high statistical probability predicted by astronomers based on the size of the universe. The Hongshan neolithic culture flourished from 4700 - 2900 B.C., leaving behind zoomorphic artifacts in what is now northern China. The artists visited that windswept geography and its archeological sites to capture source material for this technological interpretation. For the Future Paradox projection maps, Su merges photogrammetry captured at Hongshan archeological digs with real-time wind data from the wind tunnel anemometers to create a spherical map of simultaneous worlds. One dozen Xiaomi air purifiers (sponsored) were hacked to respond to the audio dynamics experienced in the third chamber of the installation.
Electronic components include seven networked industrial fans, one high voltage control HUB, 12 modified air purifiers, three anemometers, two projection hemispheres, 108 suspended laser lights, along with computers and projectors.
The Artists wish to thank Shaoyu's Father Wenlong Su and his team at Tianjin HongHang Electric and Engineering Co., who engineered the wind tunnel. Thanks also to Xiaomi, Versalume, the SETI Institute and the Today Art Museum for generous assistance in realizing this work. Jacob Daniel Penn assisted with wind visualization programming.