Olafur Eliasson’s art is driven by his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. He strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large. Art, for him, is a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. Eliasson’s works span sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installation. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery, his practice engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects, interventions in civic space, arts education, policy-making, and issues of sustainability and climate change… (more)
Watch on Netflix : Here
At the very beginning there is a promise made.
There is a simple ask from Olafur, and it is that you turn off all of the other lights that you have on. You will ideally want to watch this at night, in a dark room, with no other distractions.
Why? So you can be part of the art installation; to be part of an experiment.
Color psychology tells us that our perceptions can be influenced by color. Our behavior, the way we feel, the way we act, can have traceable results to the colors of our environment.
This is why at the beginning of the episode, you are asked to take the journey – to turn other lights off and experience the color. If you watched, did you notice any difference? If you didn’t watch, the next time that you are out and about, pay attention to the design choice of color. Was the color picked for a reason? How does it make you feel, and does what does it do to the environment? An easily recognizable memory could be how you felt under a blacklight. Have you ever, or seen anybody, that did not look around to experience it? That commented on how teeth look, how socks look, how anything looks? It’s universal.
There are a couple of things that make you think when Olafur does a quick experiment to show you how the light looks across the world. The experiment is quite simple, Olafur holds up a white piece of paper to a camera outside, capturing how it looks. He does this in a few different cities and the difference in light is easily observable. Does that mean that entire populations of people could have their perceptions altered and influenced based just upon how the color hue difference is?
He has many art installations built around perspective and how each of us interpret the world around us. In the show Abstract he allows the viewer to also experience his art at home and the different perspectives in life that color itself can have on you. The room turning yellow, making everything black, white and grey, bringing us into a void of color which we didn’t know we existed in. The easiness in which this can be changed when perspective is change, when a light is introduced, when our focus changes to the wider picture. How the color hues differentiate in every single light you can put them under, how every perspective can be biased because every experience is truly unique to only the viewers eyes. Olafur creates art that makes the viewer examine themselves and examine the perspective they see the world.
The Absence of Color
Just as fascinating are Olafur’s experiments with monochromatic light. The beauty of this is that since there is no white light for the other colors to bounce off of, it appears that everything is grey in his yellow light.
Similar to the blacklight example, people reacted similarly to Olafur’s exhibits of monochromatic light. It is really awesome to see a bunch of different people come together and enjoy something as simple as this. (Maybe the real art is the friends we made on the way!)
The best design tells a story. The next time that you visit an art gallery, or a museum, take a look around and see what story is being told. How is the environment setup that is not immediately noticeable? There is a lot of beauty and genius that goes into designing an exhibit or art installation that can go beyond the first glance look.
My favorites always end up being those in the same like as what Olafur creates. The story has emotion that you can feel. It makes you wonder. It takes you out of the space that you are in and forces you into new perspectives.
Olfaur is very active in bringing awareness to the climate crises. He came up with the idea to bring huge chunks of ice from melting glaciers and to put them in a Paris square. What’s better way to bring awareness than to put the ice right in your face so you can watch it melt? It’s fantastic.
The soundtrack fits perfectly with what is being shown and it hits at the right moments. A good soundtrack or a song can really tie together what you are looking to accomplish, and the easiest way to do that in my opinion is to match the emotional beats of the show with the emotional beats of the song. When used correctly, it can have you view what you are watching in a whole new light. Sometimes the soundtrack is there to help you understand what you are watching and what you should be feeling. (We all need a little help from time to time too… right!?)
Olafur is a genius in his own right, and a great person. He is involved with a lot of charity work, and is communicating important issues. Please check out his website to learn more!