John Grzinich

John Grzinich
John Grzinich © Jan Höhe

“Powerless Flight”, 2022
Installation, 4 wind harps
Am Vogelort, close to the Rhine dyke

Video: John Grzinich – Visit to Monheim am Rhein

Artist John Grzinich has developed aeolian harps and weather-dependent instruments to make air movements audible, tuned to the climatic conditions around the Rhine bend in Monheim.

"Powerless Flight," originally conceived as a response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, was a joint commission by STUK Leuven and Sonic Acts (Amsterdam) in 2022. Attentive listeners experienced a brief ecoacoustic "return of nature" during the height of the pandemic, due to the historically unprecedented decrease in industrial noise during the global lockdown. The term "powerless" in the title refers less to a sense of helplessness than to an act of liberation from a human-centered perspective that gives way to a sensitivity to the multiplicity of chaotic life forms.

The wind harps were permanently installed during the exhibition and served as a starting point for an on-site workshop.

The installation was the basis for a public sound performance entitled "Tell it to the wind". Angelika Sheridan from the music school Monheim am Rhein developed it with students of the music school and performed it on Sunday, June 11.


John Grzinich (Estonia/USA) is an artist working with various practices that combine sound, moving image, site specificity and collaborative social structures. He has been composing, performing, and exhibiting since the mid-1990s. He has performed and exhibited in North and South America, Europe, and Japan.

In recent years, his work has focused on combining sound and listening practices with various media to challenge age-old anthropocentric perceptions of the world we inhabit. CDs of his compositions have been released on labels such as SIRR, Staalplaat, Edition Sonoro, Mystery Sea, CMR, erewhon, Intransitive Recordings, Digital Narcis, Taalem, Semper Florens, and Cloud of Statics. In addition to his personal artistic practice, he coordinates activities for the artist organization MoKS and is currently a visiting professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

Artist website

Construction of the wind harps at the Rhine dike in Monheim am Rhein
Construction of the wind harps at the Rhine dike in Monheim am Rhein © Niclas Weber