Studio Edwin van der Heide
Fluisterende wind

Fluisterende wind (Whispering Wind) is a permanent installation situated in the new passage that cuts right under the recently renovated P.J. Veth Building of Leiden University. With this passage a new pathway between the Leiden Observatory and the Hortus Botanicus has been created.

The artwork consists of a wall relief of 12.5 by 2.5 meters and an 8-channel generative sound composition. The composition creates a continuum between noise and human voice which results in moments when wind seems to be whispering.

The sound of the installation is generated and spatialized in real-time. The work uses a library of recorded spoken words that are being analyzed in order to extract the spectral envelop that describes the timbral resonances of the throat, mouth and nose over time and used to filter white noise in such a way that it starts to whisper. The detail of the filtering and the played speed are parameters used in the generative process and result in a true continuum between pure noise and voiced (but unpitched) sound while the speed can vary from very slowly, nearly frozen, changing resonances to just perceivable words.

The wall relief has been generated using a spectral analysis (sonogram) of a voice changing from vowel to vowel over time while maintaining a constant pitch. The vowel transitions are composed in such a way as to result in an aesthetical and contrasting visual composition.

Whispering Wind was established at the initiative of Marcel Cobussen, professor of Auditory Culture at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts in 2017.

P.J. Veth Building, Leiden University
Nonnensteeg 1-3, 2311 VJ Leiden, Netherlands

opening hours:
Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 17:30 hrs
Saturday - Sunday: 10:00 - 16:00 hrs

Fluisterende wind on Leiden University's website


Binaural microphone recording of Fluisterende wind made Friday January 29th, 2021. The recording is meant to be listened to on (high quality) headphones. Duration: 7 minutes and 4 seconds. © Edwin van der Heide

Fluisterende wind
generative composition and wall relief: Edwin van der Heide
realization: Edwin van der Heide with Adriaan de Man and Rowan Groes
initiator: Marcel Cobussen, Academy for Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University
architect: Diederik de Jonge
project coordination: Carola Koetsier
keywords: sound art, new media art, generative art, electronic music, computer music, composition, sonic architecture, spatial sound, public space, installation, composer, artist, exhibition, P.J. Veth Building, cepstrum, liftering