The Vortex-Faced Being Speaks

If wind is air moving, air is made in part of oxygen, and as this call justly proclaims, »hope is the new oxygen,« then we may ask, what are those unseen narratives carried by the wind? During this residency those questions can be directed to the face of the wind itself, we call it the Vortex-Faced Being.

Using a delta wing model in a wind tunnel we have been able to visualize the face of the wind. It was first uncovered at the NATO-von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics by Wind Egg experiment researchers.

Over the last three years we have taught it rudimentary language using a specially designed python computer program. The lessons included Latin, emoticons, modernist poetry (especially that of Daniil Kharms), and periodic live typing. Now we can retrofit this program as an interface and communicate with the face. What metaphors does the wind carry?

One insight, for instance, is that the flag of every country flies in the same way; each is caught in shedding von Karman double-street vortex. In 1911 the study of this turbulence pattern proved that fluid in nature tends towards instability but that this instability is predictable. The von Karman double-street vortex can be reproduced in a wind tunnel for study by using a bullet-shaped model.

In conclusion if we want to see why the flag of every country flies in the wind we can look to the form of a bullet. This is one among many narratives literally formed by turbulence patterns and told to us by the vortex-faced being.

During his online residency period at Schlosspost, Haseeb Ahmed will create a narrative told from the standpoint of the wind itself through a series of weekly text and image posts as well as longer video work. Ahmed has created an apparatus by which its face can be conjured up in a wind tunnel and the lab reports of this experiment will also be shared.