Public Art


By Doug Hollis
Category: Sculpture


It’s a windy day, and the nine, 20-foot-tall, identical metal, kite-like sculptures that make up Aquilone are twirling, fluttering and howling — activated by the wind. They sound like ancient pipe music that might be Native American-inspired.

Each of the elements is composed of a tetrahedral wind vane that frames 30 smaller perforated aluminum “tell-tales.” They are small wind sails animating the entire surface. The whole piece turns into the wind as the nine elements dance with each other. At the leading edge of each structure is an aluminum “wind-organ pipe” that brings the wind’s sound into the experience of the work. Pipes vary in length from about eight feet to ten feet, producing a series of harmonic tones as the wind rises and falls.

Hollis says the piece references the work of Alexander Graham Bell’s study of tetrahedral kites and Buckminster Fuller’s quest to understand the underlying structures of nature. He states, “This sculpture is part of my ongoing research into the motion of the wind and its ability to activate kinetic forms. I want to create a field of activity, an ever-changing experience of the wind’s movements to be seen by people waiting on the platform or those driving or walking by.” Aquilone satisfies Hollis’ desire to “…try and make places that have an oasis-like quality where people can pause to catch their spiritual breath in the midst of their everyday lives.”

Courtesy of Metro Arts in Transit

Dimensions: 20′
Year Completed: 2006
Material: Steel and aluminum wind-activated sculptures
Owner: Arts in Transit

About the artist: