Christian Long

Olafur Eliasson: Playing w/ Space & Light

In TED Talks on April 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Reflection by SUSIE C.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Olafur Eliasson: Playing w/ Space & Light

Olafur Eliasson is an artist, but he believes art is not just about what you are creating, rather it is about how people relate to it. As he describes it, it is “really not necessarily about how we do things, but why we do things.” It is not about how you make the art, but why you make it and why others will appreciate it.

He uses art to help people answer questions such as, “”What consequences does it have when I take a step?”, “Does it matter if I am in the world or not?”, and “Does it matter whether the kind of actions I take filter into a sense of responsibility?”

One of his projects is the “Green River”. He put green dye into rivers in several large cities as part of an activist idea. He hoped that by giving the space of the river dimensions, especially in time, would help to make the city feel negotiable and tangible to its people. Making it real for them helps them to feel that they can make a difference and go out and vote and make a stand.

Adding water to his art adds another dimension to the space of the art. Water is always moving and always flowing, having it in a space means that from second to second the space changes. Any picture taken of such a space would be different from any other picture of the same space because the water has moved.

The added dimension of time brings a new beauty to art. Olafur Eliasson’s “Waterfalls” bring that dimension to the city of New York. Now the picture of the city will always be changing as the water moves and changes. This helps people to feel that they are a part of the picture and not just in front of the picture.

Being a part of the space then helps people to feel that they can change the space and therefore their city and, perhaps, even the world.


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