Time in the Tower of Winds

A multi-dimensional journey through architecture, science, mythology and culture

The Science of Timekeeping: The Whirling Horologium, Triptych, Pen-and-Ink Drawing on Paper, 3 × 122 cm × 86 cm, 2017.

The Tower of Winds is the world’s first meteorological station and octagonal building known in the Western history. With its nine sundials carved on pentelic marble and many more features, this clocktower functioned in Athens’ Roman Agora as a horologion or “the hour-teller”, measuring wind, time, stars and planets.

This exceptional piece of architecture inspired the homonymous artistic project initiated by Ireen Zielonka in cooperation with artists from different disciplines and countries: the result is a modular, multimedia and interdisciplinary project to be presented in the format of a book and an exhibition.

Despite its different layers, “Time in the Tower of Winds” addresses to a broad audience, aiming to take it to a journey through its history of architecture, science and culture in a playful language that includes both myth, science and storytelling.

In the Studio. Photo: Dean Olofsson

Andronicus the Architect
Drawing with Dip Pen, Ink on Paper, 86cm x 61cm

Andronicus the Astronomer
Drawing with Dip Pen, Ink and Shellac Ink on Paper, 86cm x 61cm

Composition and Photocollage: Echo of the Dervishes 3:00
Pump organ, Fieldrecordings, Synthesizer

Photo: Daniel Zakharov


A MULTIMEDIA PROJECT. “Time in the Tower of Winds” deploys different languages and disciplines: a series of dipped ink drawings; a collaborative music album; a literary text that, oscillating between science, storytelling and Greek theatre, functions also as a base for performative actions.


A MODULAR PROJECT. Each of these parts are interwoven into a multifaceted body of work, yet none of them is ancillary to another one; rather, each of the parts functions autonomously as visual, literary and music artworks, supporting and deepening each other when together.


AN INTERDISCIPLINARY PROJECT. Through different media, like in a kaleidoscope, the Tower is considered under an architectural, astronomical, scientific, mythological, historical and philosophical perspective. Mythological creatures mingle with architectural details and scientific instruments, along with different ethnicities, religions and times. Both drawings and words oscillate between tale-like narration and scientific explanation.


A MULTICULTURAL PROJECT. All these different perspectives underline also the multicultural identity of the Tower, enlivened by Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, Sufis, Early Christians and therefore called “crossroad”. The making of the Project itself involved the cooperation of artists/professionals from Germany, Italy, Scotland, Spain, USA and Greece.

BOOK “Time in the Tower of Winds: The Horologium of Andronicus” – An exclusive hardcover art book including texts, drawings, music CD and Booklet with photo collages. The book is divided in XV chapters that explore the Towers’ multiple functions as the different parts of a body, each one with its own mythological, scientific and historical background yet united in an organic system. Historical facts are consequently narrated as corpus’ occupation, anatomy and diagnose.

Through the voice of the tower itself, a theatre piece brings the reader through its multicultural and transdisciplinary history: between fairy tale fiction and scientific facts, the Book constitutes also a work standalone, open for a performative interpretation.

PORTFOLIO The drawings of Ireen Zielonka appear not only in the Book, interweaving with the text and the music sections, but also separately. The Portfolio allows to follow a narrative which is purely visual, without the interactions of other media and perspectives, besides being the very first production of the project. It also allows the viewer to notice some details of the dipped-ink hand-drawn works, whose real dimensions vary from 86 × 61 cms to triptychs of 122 × 258 cms. The Portfolio shows the series in a specific order, reflected in the structure of the book, as a printed exhibition outline. The project is not meant to be considered not sold in separate parts.

CD AND BOOKLET Eight chapters are followed by a section with a dedicated piece of music. These tracks have been produced in a form of questioning the nature of octagons, winds, planets, mythical creatures and historical facts. Along with the Book, the CD is included as a music album that can be also considered both as a concept album and as a soundscape to present in the exhibition.

The CD Booklet collects the texts and photocollages of the eight music sections in the book. Textual comments and digital collages follow as an autonomous, poetical piece of work.

Photo: Daniel Zakharov

Photo: Robert Stanton

Ireen-Christin Zielonka
studied Museology at the HTW University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. In her diploma thesis she explored the question: Why is there something and not nothing? Among other things, she was a scholarship holder at the Museumsquartier in Vienna and the AADK (Aktuelle Architektur der Kultur/Contemporary Architecture of the Culture) in Blanca, region Murcia, Spain.
She specialises in Pen-and-Ink Drawings and combines selected works with soundscapes. Her works are represented in public and private collections, including Katowice Miasto Ogrodow,
Poland (UNESCO), Collection Michael Haas, Collection Dorothea and Rudolf Zwirner, Collection Peter Raue. She lives and works in Berlin.

Giada Dalla Bontà
is an independent researcher, art critic and curator from Italy based in Berlin. Specialised in contemporary art practices and conceptualism, she has won various scholarships and grants from the Moscow NCCA, V-A-C Foundation in collaboration with Bard NY and De Appel, Valand Academy – University of Göteborg, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and others. Her publications appear also in Indiana University Press; Achille Bonito Oliva, Skira; CityLeaks, Koeln. Throughout her career she has worked, amongst others, with Mondriaan Fund, HNI Rotterdam, Venice Biennale, Stella Art Foundation, Lisson Gallery.