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OLAFUR ELIASSON Brief The aim of this brief is to use your skills in research and critical analysis to develop your personal practice and conceptual development. Research is an essential element within the process of creating artifacts of all forms, which is why it is emphasized particularly in this brief. You will be given a name of a designer in groups, which you will then proceed to investigate. The brief will be divided into two parts, the first being a reflective outcome of the designers practice presented as a group and the second being a personal artifact reflecting the instigation formed through the group. Alongside this it is expected that you document your research and process of practical development via your blog. Ultimately you will be required to collect, collate, edit, select and uncover in a creative way the key elements of your practitioner, thus becoming them.

About My group and myself were given the name Olafur Eliasson to investigate. As we were all unfamiliar with his work we decided to individually research into a particular project and discuss his common aspects. Olafur Eliasson is an artist, particularly known for his large-scale installations and sculptures. His choices of materials were limited to natural sources such as: light, water and temperature. However, he did experiment with artificial materials to enhance the appearance of space. In his early work he invested a lot of time seeking the effects geometry can have on creating illusions. He was influenced thoroughly by Einar Thorsteinn, an architect who also shared an interest for geometry. Olafur Eliasson currently works at his studio in Denmark with where him and his team explore spatial research through experiments.

Born 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark


Research Personal Style

The Weather Project

Although he often prefers to use natural material within his projects, he is also known for highlighting nature through the use of artificial. In his previous works he has also been accustomed to using colour to change our perception and experience. He explains that colour can define a person’s emotion and perhaps also trigger memories. He produced several projects that explore the use of colour, such as his 360°room for all colours, your atmospheric colour atlas and your rainbow Panorama. His method, however was to define the effects colour had on a human’s perspective. Eliasson was interested in studying how light is important for revealing colours and therefore suggesting our perception of light is perception of oneself. Through his projects he wanted to create a universal experience that was both individual and unique to each viewer.

I chose to research ‘ the weather project’ which was installed at the London Tate Museum. The installation consisted of large humidifiers, thousands of lamps and a ceiling covered with a mirror. He wanted to offer the viewers with an indoor experience of the weather, as well as making us conscious of our existence in the world. He wanted to highlight the importance of weather and how it can determine how we see and feel the world. He was aware that his structure would cause chaotic movement within the museum, which he also intended to represent the uncontrollable system of the weather forecast. Eliasson wants us to consider why we talk about the weather so much, and how weather plays a role in our culture and our sense of ourselves. The installation itself is essentially a large optical illusion deceiving the large yellow circle to be the sun. Eliasson produced illusions within a series of his projects to manipulation visual distortions.


Group Idea Development

My Contribution

My group consisted of myself and 4 other fellow peers. Within our group we began developing our idea through brainstorming possible outcomes. With the use of all our research on Eliasson, we were able to define his methods, process and aims for his projects. Using this information we needed to discover a way to communicate this in a creative way. Therefore together we came up with the idea to divide the key concepts of his work among us and individually come up with a way to portray it. We limited ourselves to forming a video or animation, as our final outcome was to be a video sequence illustrating this. Once we all produced a video representing our concept, we decided on a type and layout that would flow through each sequence. Then in after effects we merges the videos to create our final artifact.

As we only had a week to produce reflective artifact it was necessary that we all gathered to discuss the ideas, development and any problems. I personally made it my priority to attend all meetings and initiate when needed. I also was given the themes nature, space and reflection to explore for the final outcome. I began by further researching these concepts in depth whilst posting them on the group blog. I then proceeded creating my interpretations by videoing a friend looking into a mirror with another mirror behind her, thus creating a multiple reflection output. For nature v’s artificial I produced a stop frame animation of an artificial flower in natural grass to give the illusion that it is real. Finally for the portrayal of Space, I decided to play with shapes and shadows to give the illusion of an object far behind or above through the use of darker and lighter shades.


Individual Take Your Time

Idea Development

Eliasson has several on going projects that explore the relationship between humans and space. His experiments are usually centered on the viewer’s interaction with a space or an environment. I was particularly interested in several of his experiments, which reflected this aspect such as: Take your time (2008), ‘Multiple shadow house’ and ‘Your felt future’. All of which require the viewers to actively engage with the installation to experience the natural phenomenon. His views are exposed to subjectivity and reflection whilst critically analyzing reality. Eliasson particular interest in how we understand, see, and experience space is reflected in ‘Multiple Shadow House’. The user negotiates and constructs his or her surroundings as their perception of reality becomes clearer. Eliasson points to the relationship between reality, perception and representation in his projects.

Following my more focused research into Eliasson’s projects reflecting perception I discovered that he wanted to destabilize your perception of the space around you through reflection, critical analysis and observation. I use this as a basis to form my idea. Taking these concepts and his previous project into consideration I decided to produce a video based artifact featuring slit scan/ time displacement and time delay. I am using this technique to highlight some of the key elements of Olafar Eliasson’s process and method. I have decided to construct a small installation experiment using a video camera, projector and my laptop. Similarly to Eliasson’s work, he encouraged user interaction, which is why my outcome can only be determined by the contribution of participants. In order to create the distorted live video I will be using processing. In order to discover the essential codes for slit scan technique I will be referring to Processing Forum and experimenting with that produced code.


Technical Inspiration

My Experiments

In order to achieve my intended outcome, it was necessary to explore the technique of slit scan and time displacement. Through researching the effect online I was referred to look at a website created by Golan Levin and Collaborators that specifically demonstrates projects that utilize this particular technique. I then also discovered an experimental video that demonstrated the effects of this technique through a woman performing movements which would be revealed a few seconds later and in a distorted way. This encouraged me to achieve this as I felt it represented the ideas of Olafur Eliasson. I also found a variety of Youtube clips that demonstrated people experimenting with slit scan in their own ways. However I had not seen someone install this into a social environment for the public to explore and interact with. Combining the basic slit scan template code from the processing Forum with my intermediate knowledge on it I was able to personalize it in order to create my intended outcome.

In addition to developing my skills in slit-scan via processing, I was determined to view the outcome myself. I initially tested it out and then involved a few friends to interact with it. I also discovered similar apps for the iPhone that also played with the technique, however it was only able to produce a still image rather that a live video feed. However, I experimented with a variety of methods that all contributed towards my knowledge in the process and outcome. Providing a user testing enabled me to get an initial insight into how people may react to it and whether it provoked the intended thoughts of Eliassons. The experiments were fortunately successful and according to the feedback from my friends it triggered many of the ideas that Eliasson instilled into his own personal projects.


Final

OUTCOME Installation

Result

My aim was to use the webcam to track any movement, which would essentially be transferred into the slit-scan processing code and eventually revealing a distorted outcome. As I developed the existing code to feed off my live webcam I was then able to let the program run whilst people naturally interacted with the installation. I set this up within university to allow students and tutors to engage with their reflection and acknowledge the space around them. I also installed a projected to reveal the live feed onto the opposite wall. This revealed an interesting feedback as the screens appeared to be within one another thus multiplying the reflections of that person. Olafur Eliasson was particularly interested in reflections and encouraged people to take the time to observe. He was determined to highlight the important of human existence through creating several experiments that would explore an encourage this.

My Installation was an attempt Eliasson to hasbecome several on Olafur going projects that explore the Eliasson and produce an artefact relationship that best between represented humans and space. His experiments who he is and what he is about. are usually Although centered slit scan on the is viewer’s interaction with a not particularly a techniquespace Eliasson or an has environment. worked with, I was particularly interested in I believe it is definitely a technique several of that his experiments, captures the which reflected this aspect essence of method and intention such as: Take thatyour exist time within (2008), ‘Multiple shadow house’ a lot of his projects and and installations. ‘Your felt The future’. slit All scan of which require the viewers installation has allowed me to to actively review peoples engagedifferent with the installation to experience reactions and understandings the of natural this. As phenomenon. I filmed the His views are exposed to interactive space for 3 hours subjectivity consistently and I was reflection able to whilst critically analyzing capture nature interests and reality. entertaining Eliasson particular responses interest in how we understand, that were not expected. I also see,took and experience the opportunity space is toreflected in ‘Multiple Shadow ask a few quick questionsHouse’. regarding Thethe userinstallation negotiates and constructs his or her to get user feedback. Overall surroundings the installation as theirwas perception a of reality becomes success as I was able to clearer. uncover Eliasson similar responses points to the relationship between from the audience, which reality, relates perception closely to Eliasson’s and representation in his projects. methods. It was also an enjoyable experience to observe people interacting in their own personal ways.

Following my more focused research into Eliasson’s projects reflecting perception I discovered that he wanted to destabilize your perception of the space around you through reflection, critical analysis and observation. I use this as a basis to form my idea. Taking these concepts and his previous project into consideration I decided to produce a video based artifact featuring slit scan/ time displacement and time delay. I am using this technique to highlight some of the key elements of Olafar Eliasson’s process and method. I have decided to construct a small installation experiment using a video camera, projector and my laptop. Similarly to Eliasson’s work, he encouraged user interaction, which is why my outcome can only be determined by the contribution of participants. In order to create the distorted live video I will be using processing. In order to discover the essential codes for slit scan technique I will be referring to Processing Forum and experimenting with that produced code.

Stills from video documentary


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