Against the Wind

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Video installation, 2003.

Video, steel, reflective screen, wind meter.

Size adjustable.

Human beings fight nature, while other animals seem to make use of natural phenomena. Turbulence is a major challenge and problem for aircraft design. It also makes air travel uncomfortable: everyone who has taken a flight knows what turbulence feels like. It is hard, almost impossible to forecast the movement of air or water flows. We can measure the average speed, but the other factors are so complex that it is impossible for even the most efficient computers in the world put together to draw up a passable estimate of the movements of flowing matter. Yet many animals, such as birds, insects and fish are able to read the currents in their environment correctly and adjust their own movements to the subtlest changes to the nearest millimetre. Kestrels read and forecast the direction and strength of wind all the time. They have solved the problem of turbulence and use the wind as their playground. Millions of years of evolution have made their structure and mind masters of the air. Although we can see them fly, measure their wing strokes and study their anatomy, the secret of turbulence remains.