UF’s School of Art+Art History is launching a new permanent outdoor sculpture, The Periplanómenos Whistles, by Israeli artist, Rotem Tamir, a visiting Assistant Professor in Sculpture at UF.
The Periplanómenos Whistles consists of three colorful wooden whistles. The columns are made from the wood of virgin bald cypress trees that range in age between 800 and 1000 years. The trees are often called “the wood eternal” in reference to their longevity and resistance to harsh weather conditions. Each whistle was carved from a single tree trunk and has been painted to represent three species of birds, the ivory-billed woodpecker, the passenger pigeon, and the Carolina parakeet, that became extinct as result of massive deforestation. All of the whistles are functional instruments that produce sound.
The artist, Roten Tamir, received the Creative B grant for public art. Tamir’s work is largely interactive but is also meant to stand on its own while not being used.
“A lot of my work has some kind of possibility of activity,” says Tamir. “But in The Periplanómenos Whistles, I think it is enough to see the mouthpieces in order to hear the sound that this piece can produce. Our imagination can bring to life sounds, smells, even people – you only need the right trigger to help you do it.”
Tamir appreciates the ephemerality associated with the whistle. In the past, Tamir created objects that would not last forever – that would change through time and then disintegrate. However, in this project it is not the whistle that is ephemeral but rather the presence of the person playing the whistle and the sound the whistle creates. The sound cannot last forever; like the musician playing the instrument, the sound produced by the whistle is there for a moment and then it is gone.
The sculpture will be installed on the east side of the University of Florida Auditorium building in early April. A public reception will be held on April 20th at 5 pm where Dr. Kristen Stoner, Associate Professor of Flute and the UF Flute Studio, will perform music written specifically for The Periplanómenos Whistles.