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Olafur Eliasson


In all existing physical structures [and in our cultural models] relations exist as socializing potential.

Throughout history one can observe how different models of seeing and of relating to space - that is our relation to our surroundings - have replaced one another, parallel with social, ideological, technical and other changes.

Values of a given time will always determine the models and relations through which we choose to conduct our lives. If the values change, the relations change as well.

For the single person these models and relations can seem so natural that one can make the mistake of thinking that they are actual characteristics of our surroundings.

Through a given time's scale of values we structure our surroundings in such a way that they appear meaningful and as an understandable entity. However, at the same time this specific relation also sets up a kind of limitation for what we perceive and understand from our surroundings, because it excludes or suppresses any knowledge which clashes with its meaningful entity.

text from this book:

Olafur Eliasson: The Blind Pavilion - Denmarkīs representative at the Venice Biennale 2003
June 15 - November 2, 2003

The Danish Contemporary Art Foundation has chosen the artist Olafur Eliasson (born 1967) to represent Denmark at the 50th Venice Biennale. Olafur Eliasson‚s work holds a unique position in contemporary art. His work does not immediately lend itself to being understood on the basis of one single perspective but takes its mark, rather, in certain universal processes common to all mankind. Olafur Eliassonīs installations of light, air, ice and water, reflections and vegetation, his photographs of the Icelandic landscape and his assiduous scientific investigations of the relation between culture and nature - all of these experiments confront our own gaze and existence in the world.

In Eliassonīs exhibition The Blind Pavilion for the Danish pavilion at the Venice Biennale, virtually all the strategies that the artist has employed up until now are activated: mirror reflections, glass kaleidoscopes, stretches of stairway, architectural interventions and camera obscuras. The exhibition will shape itself as a total installation which, on several levels, will cancel out the dividing lines between work and viewer, between outside and inside, between art and science. This will be accomplished, specifically speaking, through the construction of several interposed planes and stairways, through the positioning of works outside the pavilion - on the shifted roof surface - and with works displayed indoors. They will simultaneously trigger our memory about the world outside and very concretely conduct the world inside via scopic machines.

As a crucial link in Eliassonīs procession of visions of a total experience, a book is being published. Rather than merely serving as a representative reading of the exhibition, the book possesses more the character of a parallel counterpart to the exhibition. In close collaboration with the Danish author Svend Aage Madsen, a number of Danish and foreign authors, poets and theoreticians have been invited to contribute with texts that explore our constantly shifting and ever-evolving capacity for "orienting" ourselves (psychologically and physically).

Born and raised in Denmark, Olafur Eliasson is of Icelandic extraction. For many years now, Eliasson has been living and working in Berlin. Until May 19, it is possible to view Olafur Eliassonīs solo exhibition "Funcionamiento silencioso" in the Palacio de Cristal at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. And up until June 15, another solo exhibition "Sonne statt Regen" is being shown in the Kunstbau at the Lenbachhaus in Munich.

text from e-flux mailing list

Physiological Memory (2002)

1) Choose a person, older than yourself, you see frequently - not too often but approx once a week or once a month. Maybe one of your grandparents if they are still alive.

2) Every time you meet the chosen person you press your 2 pointing-fingers firmly against your eyes for 10 to 20 seconds until various colors and patterns arise.

3) Try to note or memorize the patterns and colors in connection with the context and repeat the practice every time your meet the chosen person for as long as possible, minimum 6 months.

4) After minimum 6 months of this practice you can recall the person, virtually by pressing your eyes for a while. In the midst of the colors and pattern a sense of presence of the chosen person arrives even after the chosen person has died.

text from DO-IT project at e-flux

related: EinarThorsteinn, BrunoLatour, AtmosphereAtmosphereFullVersion

-- HiazHhzz - 25 Oct 2003
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