Take Your Time, Olafur Eliasson

As the title may suggest, I took my time, and after much procrastination, I have finally decided to do my final post on the exhibit by Olafur Eliasson that we went to a few months ago. I can honestly say that Eliasson’s work was like nothing I have ever seen before. My experience with formal, or even amateur, art exhibits is next to nothing. I have only been to the art museum in Chicago a few times–more than one of them being with my elementary school. So this experience was certainly novel.

Having long ago misplaced the brochure, I will have to rely on the Internet to supply me with the names of specific pieces, and as we all know that may result in mistakes. The first piece I want to take about is a long hallway that is lit only with mono-frequency lights that drown the hallway in yellow light but remove all other color from your vision. This is apparently called “Room for One Colour” and, like a few of Olafur’s works in the exhibit, was quite disorienting when you first enter. Perhaps the most spectacular effect, as I have already said, is that all the color is removed from your surroundings, which includes the people in the hallway with you. Everyone is a rather dull grey that brings to mind watching a black and white movie.

On the other end of the spectrum, both literally and figuratively, is ” 360 (degree) room for all colours.” As you might guess, this is a circular room made of stretched canvas about eight to nine feet tall. Behind the canvas are lights that slowly pulsate in a variety of colors. The immediate effect of this room is the loss of your sense of depth perception. While this might sound unpleasant, I found myself wanting to stay in this suspendedstate for as long as I could. It lends you the vague sense of floating, as if the world you have come to occupy is shifting under your feet.

The piece “Mosswall” is fairly self explanatory. Inexplicably, the only reaction that it drew from me was laughter–and it was not laughter in a mocking sense. I think just the mild shock of seeing a eighteento twenty foot wall covered in moss while being in a modern building was enough to provoke a knee-jerk response, and that response was laughter. In a completely different sense, the smell of the moss set a distinct mood for the room, even though it was subtle at best. And while we were not able to see this, we were told that the color of he wall changes as the exhibit ages, which brings a totally new side to the piece.

The last piece I will talk about is “Beauty.” This was a nearly pitch black room with a soft light being shone through a light mist coming from the ceiling, causing a small rainbow to dance in the middle of the room. While this was not altogether life-changing, the ability to view the rainbow as almost an isolated object created a unique experience. Also interesting was the extent to which the audience could interact with the rainbow, from playing with the shadow of your hand to walking right threw the mist.

Three Questions:

1. How has the relationship to space, the primary medium of Eliasson, been changed by technology?

2. Does my reaction to the mosswall say anything about what we (or maybe just I) accept as reality in our technology dominated world?

3. Does the loss of color have a meaningful effect on the human psyche, and if so why?

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