"For me Utopia is tied to our ‘now’, to the moment between one second and the next. It constitutes a potential that is actualized and transformed into reality; an opening where concepts such as subject and object, inside and outside, proximity and distance are thrown up in the air only to be defined anew. Our sense of orientation is challenged, and the coordinates of our spaces,collective and personal, have to be renegotiated. Mutability and motion lie at the core of Utopia." - Olafur Eliasson (1)
As visitors step into long tunnel filled with dense fog and slowly shifting colored lights, they must give up their sense of sight in order to pass from one end to the next in this 2010 installation by Olafur Eliasson at the ARKEN museum in Copenhagen. The dense fog instead encourages visitors to rely on their other senses to navigate the space, drawing to their attention changes in light and sound as other visitors move around you. The colored lights change subtly, from the bright yellows of morning to the deep inky purples and blues of twilight, allowing participants to notice the changes in light of everyday that they might otherwise miss with the distractions of the outside world present. Concentrating on our personal relation to the world around us, Eliasson seeks to reveal the idea of ‘Utopia’ to us as “the now”, or as “moments between one second and the next”. A sensory experience. His 90 meter installation challenges visitors to consider their place in their environment and how they relate to not only the world around them, but also others who share the same space. By blocking outside distractions with the fog, we can better understand our own Utopia, redefining our identity in relation to our surroundings.Eliasson's use of the visitor as a participant in the work is more than just a cheap thrill, instead the slow pace of the trek through the tunnel encourages quiet reflection and promotes both inner and outer awareness of the world and our place in it. (2)
1. DB, Andrea. "olafur eliasson: your blind passenger." Designboom (blog), December 24, 2010. http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/10/view/12642/olafur-eliasson-your-... (accessed February 1, 2012).
2. Aldredge, Michelle. "Olafur Eliasson: Your Blind Passanger." Gwarlingo (blog), July 25, 2011. http://www.gwarlingo.com/2011/olafur-eliasson-your-blind-passenger/ (accessed February 1, 2012).
3. Eliasson, Olafur. "Olafur Eliasson." Last modified 2010. Accessed February 1, 2012. http://www.olafureliasson.net/works/din_blinde_passager.html.