"The Wind Egg" by Haseeb Ahmed

Harlan Levey Projects
Nov 3, 2018 11:53AM

Haseeb Ahmed’s 2016 film “The Wind Egg” is currently part of an eponymous exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp (M HKA) and is part of the screening program at the Independent Art Fair in Brussels, which opens next week.

For millennia, ancient Egyptian, Arab, Indian, European and Chinese cultures shared the belief that animals and people could be fertilized by the wind just as plants are. Fascinated by this theory, Haseeb Ahmed set out to provide evidence for the ancient hypothesis. In order to do so, the artist assembled a team of scientific and artistic collaborators to conduct the Wind Egg experiment, the aim of which was to test the theory by attempting to impregnate a vulture with the wind. In many ancient texts vultures were commonly known to reproduce solely with the wind and thought to be exclusively female. A species commonly associated with death seemed fitting to explore new forms of fertility.

If the wind can fertilize it must have agency. In his quest to personify the wind, Ahmed found its face in a turbulence pattern during wind tunnel experiments. The experiment was hosted by the NATO-von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics and supported with their scientific expertise and state-of-the-art wind tunnel technology. This film was shot in Sint-Genesius-Rode, Belgium on May 4th, 2016 as three busloads of viewers were given rare access to the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics to learn about Ahmed’s radical experiment. In the film as in its related performance, we are guided through the laboratory as the experiment’s four stages are explained. While testing cultural mythology with science, these stages move from antiquity to astrobiology, functioning as a test-site for imagining implications of human reproduction with the wind, without men, and with technology.

“The Wind Egg” premiered in the exhibition “Wird” at Harlan Levey Projects in September 2016 and is currently part of the exhibition “The Wind Egg” at the Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA) in Antwerp curated by Nav Haq. Haseeb Ahmed received his PhD in Artistic Research from the University of Antwerp, his master’s from the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was previously also a resident at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. His work has been exhibited internationally including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Gothenburg International Biennial of Contemporary Art, and the Museum Barengasse Zurich.



Harlan Levey Projects