Our Wind Wand was designed by Len Lye, a NZ artist

"One morning, it had been raining all night, and there were these marvellous fast little scuddy clouds in the blue sky. As I was looking at those clouds I was thinking, wasn’t it Constable… who sketched

clouds trying to convey their motions? Well, I thought, why clouds, why not just motion? Why pretend they are moving, why not just move something? All of a sudden it hit me - if there was such a thing as
composing music, there could be such a thing as composing motion. After all there are melodic figures, why can’t there be figures of motion?". Len Lye

 

 

 

And so Len Lye’s idea of ‘Tangible Motion Sculpture’ was born and it brought to life images that celebrated motion. Driven by his passion to make movement real, Lye created  kinetic sculptures..

Our Wind Wand is the result of many years of Lye's experiments with metal tubes which he hoisted aloft in the breezes of New York city where he worked. In 1966, Lye had an opportunity to build his first giant Wind Wand in Toronto, after being invited to take part in the Toronto International Sculpture Symposium. It was not built according to Lye’s specification and he insisted it be taken down
 

A narrow red fibre glass tube, 200mm in diameter, the Windwand stands 45 metres high on the foreshore of New Plymouth. Weighing approximately 900kg, the Wind Wand can bend at least 20 metres. At night, a light at the top of the Wand emits a soft red glow.

Like a giant conductors baton, Our Wind Wand, dances boldly, in the Taranaki breeze, giving true meaning... ‘Composing Motion’

Len Lye - the artist, the man. Born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1901

"One of my art teachers put me onto trying to find my own art theory. After many morning walks…an idea hit me that it seemed like a complete revelation. It was to compose motion, just as musicians compose sound. [The idea] was to lead me far, far away from wanting to excel in…traditional art." Len Lye

Lye went on to create a vast array of  art, pioneering forms of film making and kinetic sculptures. He also made a name for himself as an original painter, writer and theorist. A lot of his inspiration came from his personal studies of the New Zealand Maori, Samoans, and Australian aboriginal; and his belief that the best art is inspired by the unconscious or the ‘old brain’. Lye spent most of his life dedicated to his idea of ‘making movement real’ or ‘ Tangible Motion Sculpture’ as he called it and wished for the continuation of the research and construction of his unfinished works. The ‘Wind Wand’ in New Plymouth, Taranaki is one of these projects. In 1980, a foundation bearing his name was established and most of his extraordinary works were bought back to New Zealand to be stored and displayed at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth. Len Lye died in New York, USA in 1980