Eophone’s whistle

Anaïs Tondeur with navigator Victor Turpin

01 Dec 2015 - 30 Jan 2016, All Day

DVE, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Ile de France


Sur les traces du cri de l'Eophone, Encre sur papier, 2015_


01 Dec 2015 - 30 Jan 2016
All Day


DVE, Université Pierre et Marie Curie
4 place Jussieu
Paris, Ile de France,  75005
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11,500 years ago, a cold wave hits western Europe. On the margins of fiction, the installation, Eophone’s whistle, demonstrates the results of an expedition into the Atlantic Ocean. This journey invites to consider the influence of the ocean’s circulation on climate balance.

The Eophone (from the Greek, eol : wind and phone : voice) is an enigmatic oceanographic tool. So the story goes, the physicist and inventor Benjamin Thompson, set one adrift in the currents of the Atlantic in 1799.

Twenty years earlier, the captain of an English slave-trading ship had discovered an significant contrast in temperature between surface and deep waters: waters a mile below his ship were colder than at the surface, despite the sub-tropical location of his boat.

Nowadays, this phenomenon is known as the thermohaline circulation. Driven by the difference in densities created from the flux of heat and freshwater, this circulation takes around 1,500 years to cross all oceans. It plays a key role in balancing the climate as it distributes heat around the globe. However, global warming can weaken or even cause it to stop. This actually happened 11,500 years ago.

To carry out further observations, we believe Benjamin Thompson invented the Eophone, an instrument capable of recording variations in temperature and salinity through the oceans. Similar to a drawing by Jules Verne, the Eophone is a long narrow cylinder capped by a horn. When it reaches the surface, wind dives into the cone and creates a whistling noise that attracts passing sailors. The discovery of an Eophone is a source of unprecedented information that gives access to memories of the ocean and the climate.

Unfortunately, the Eophone only rises to the surface once every 72 years. No one caught it in 1871 nor in1943. Victor Turpin tried his luck in 2015. The installation presents his investigation through the Atlantic.

The Whistel’s Eophone is the 2nd part of Dryas, an exhibition developed during an artist-in-residence with researchers from National Natural History Museum and Pierre and Marie Curie University as part of Demain, le Climat.

Demain, Le Climat
Sorbonne Universités


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