Arizona is sprinkled with old windpumps, relics of the American dream. Cello Suites intends to give them a second life, a new reason to spin, creating a sonic cartography of the desert. The project invites us to an active and political listening of this space, a listening to our contemporary world.
The windmills perform the cellos during a unique improvised “suite”, depending on their mood, their conditions, the speed and the direction of the wind. The central tube, previously used to operate the water pump, moves the arch playing the strings of the cello attached to its structure.
Just as those of Don Quixote, windmills become alive. Asleep with one eye open, those iron ghosts watch the dreams of those who cross the desert in search of a better life. Their sound resonates as an echo in the vastness of the desert, crossed by migrants in search of a better life, scattered with remains of a western conquest which seems distant.
The video installation presents the recordings of those ephemeral concerts. A static shot of each windmill is presented on vertical screens. The exhibition space becomes the desert that visitors are invited to explore, in the heart of this string orchestra playing at the will of the wind.
Windmills performing: Apache Canyon, Caviglia Well, Cemetery, Coches, Crooked Sky, Diablo Well, Flint Well Windmill, Fraguita Mill, Med Mill, New Well Mill, Montaño Ranch, OId Mine, Rancho Seco, Remosa, Sandwash Mill, Tres Boleros and Valley Mill.
Exhibitions: Sonic Protest (Fr, 2023), Laboratorio Arte Alameda (Mx, 2024)
Press: Radio Campus (Fr),
Duration: between 17min and 1h44min depending on each video
Project completed in 2023
Project assistant: Ana Medina
Windmill hunting companions: Jay Kuehner and Barry Gosling
Musical advisors: Andres Blume and Fernando Vigueras
Cartography and support: Sara Lana
Many thanks to all the inhabitants of Arivaca and especially Gloria Hool Williams, Sheila Wallen, Ana, Uno & Emily, Mike McGuire & Diana, Hal Buckingham, Glenn Moore, Jim Chilton & Sue and the children who take part of the workshop.
Many thanks to Alejandro Luperca Morales, Amandine Poirson, Arnaud Rivière, Ben Wilder, Catalino, Colin Lévêque, Constance Juliette Meffre, Darcy Alexandra, David Dearmore, Ganaëlle Maury, Guillaume Stagnaro, George Ruyle, Glenn Weyant, Lorena Mal, José Lever, Justin Dutram, Marie-Christine Cabanas, Régis Ferrière, Ruth Gosset, Sande Zeig, Sophie Bruneau, Tamara Alvarez and Vicky Westover.
As well as to CNRS Arizona, Tucson Samaritans, Tumamoc Desert Laboratory, the University of Arizona and Sonic Protest.
Project done with the assistance of the Prefecture of the Occitanie region – Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (DRAC)
PLAY & COMBINE EACH WINDMILL