Haseeb Ahmed


As an extension to Haseeb Ahmed's site-specific immersive exhibition Interior Weathers, 1708 presented an earlier, significant project and its culminating video The Wind Egg (2016). This video became viewable at ext.1708 Projects on the concluding day of Ahmed's exhibition, Saturday, October 16, 2021.

Please adjust the volume in the lower left of the video.

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.

Text courtesy of Haseeb Ahmed and Harlan Levey Projects. 1708 is thankful for the support in presenting this work from Harlan Levey Projects, Brussels and Petra Lafond.