|Wind Caravan Mongolia - In the Midst of the Steppes
|I have never seen such a big sky. I have never stood
on such seemingly endless Steppes. Weather, temperature and wind direction
change dramatically on this highland of 1500 meters' altitude, where
they say the four seasons may be experienced in any one given day.
Squalls refresh the land, huge rainbows arch the sky, magnificent
clouds keep changing endlessly and innumerable stars seem to fall
on me at night.... Indeed I can realize how small I am, surrounded
by the enormity of nature, the entire cosmos.
I chose a spot about 40 km to the south of Ulan Bator, in the undulating
green in the middle of the vast, waving Steppes. I first encountered
this landscape after driving around many days on my first visit to
Mongolia two years ago. There is nothing man-made all around except
for the faraway ger tents of nomads. Twenty-one orange-sailed sculptures
dance in the wind. The windmill house, functioning as a small wind
generator, is a popular meeting place for the nomads. Many horses
are hitched outside of the doorway; inside the windmill house, 'airag'
- a drink made from horse milk - is served just as if this were a
Mongolian 'ger.' People watch intently the videos showing the other
Wind Caravan sites; the electricity for viewing these is produced
by the wind.
The opening ceremony was held on July 15, 2001 in the presence of
Mr. Tsanjid, Minister of Science, Technology, Education and Culture
of Mongolia, Mr. Hanada, Japanese Ambassador, and the president of
Konoike Construction Co., Ltd. Seventy friends came from Japan and
many nomads and children on horseback showed up, until finally there
were about 1,000 people. The atmosphere felt charged. Greetings and
speeches were delivered. One of the children declared how precious
nature is with the following expression: "We have one sun and only
one earth for all of us." Then all the kites, on which the children
had drawn the day before, were released into the air, and the Naadam
festival began. The festival consisted of horse race, wrestling and
archery; the participants were 56 children aged 6 to 8 on two year
old horses, 32 teenagers, and 8 boys and girls, respectively. There
were traditional performances of Morin Huur and Khoormii as well as
dancing, singing and music by children during the competitions.
Once the opening ceremony ended, Wind Caravan started its regular
exhibit. I gave a talk to the children of the International Summer
Camp and visited some of the nearby gers to talk with people. Many
nomads and children came on horseback to visit the site. Many artists
came to visit me from Ulan Bator, very enthusiastic and eager to talk
with me, asking my advice about their activities. As it has been ten
years since the political change in their society, these people are
energetic, curious and seem to have infinite possibilities. I was
appointed to be an honorary member of three associations of Mongolian
artists, because I proved in a completely new way how Mongolian wind
can be a part of art.
When I visited one of the nearby gers, I heard an interesting rumor.
Since it is rare that wind keeps blowing in this season, people believe
that the Wind Caravan sculptures are devices for bringing on the wind.
One nomad asked me, "Please bring the devices to call rain the next
time you come." Although I gave him an ambiguous reply, I was really
surprised when a heavy shower followed the thunder that very afternoon.
Mongolians smile and become happy when it rains.
Today is the last day of Wind Caravan Mongolia. Our journey - Observation
of Our Planet - will come to its conclusion in Brazil, the next and
|July 29, 2001