Mute flute sculpture gone from Jasper and 109th
Edmonton to find new home for $75,000 wind pipes
The wind sculpture standing almost three storeys tall is no longer at one of Edmonton's busiest and nosiest corners.
What looked like a supersized pan flute or a hodgepodge of organ pipes at 109th Street and Jasper Avenue was recently removed to make way for a new condo tower.
The $75,000 aluminum and steel structure — called Number 23 for the number of musical notes it was supposed to sound on windy days — was unveiled 10 years ago, the result of a countrywide competition.
But many say the sculpture never piped a solitary note, while others said even if it did, it couldn't be heard over the traffic.
"It absolutely never did anything," said Edmonton artist Ryan McCourt who attended the unveiling in 2002. "It was not even attempting to be a piece of visual art. It was trying to be a musical instrument and it was failing at that.
"You're always going to hear the traffic over the noise of that," he said. "If the wind is strong enough to have that thing make a noise, it would be making a noise in my ears as well."
Co-creator of the sculpture, Marc Boutin, said the sculpture did make music, but the growing volume of downtown traffic drowned it out.
The Calgary artist said he's happy the artwork is moving.
"We felt that the site was devolving as the right site for that piece and so when we heard that it would be taken down, I have to say that I was excited about its second life."
The city will find a new home by spring, said John Mahon, executive director of the Edmonton Arts Council.
"We're going to do some conservation and restorative work on it because it's been on the street for a number of years and we'll look for a place to resite it because it's our understanding that that location will not be available when this particular construction project is finished."
Boutin said he would like the piece to end up in a more idyllic location.
"The river valley I think is very interesting because Edmontonians do like that necklace of green public spaces," he said. "There is quite a bit of wind that moves down that valley."
With files from Matthew Kupfer