Little Sun, “The Weather Project” and Connectivity

July 2012

In making art, I have always been interested in the difference between looking at art alone and looking at it with other people. In art history, the other people part has never really been thoroughly described, and there was always this pretence that you are more or less alone on the planet. This seems to be the main way for organising reality as well, where egoism and lack of empathy are thriving.

 

With The weather project at Tate Modern in 2003, I was lucky to experience a situation in which sharing an experience amplified that experience, and somehow made the experience more explicit. People enjoyed being in the Turbine Hall with others, and the fact that it started something shared – you could almost call it a collective movement – added meaning to the project, where the shared feeling became the protagonist of the project, determining what it actually meant. I feel confident about art’s ability to take a responsible role in society when I see that a museum, an art museum, can actually create a space in which both individual experiences and shared experience can be evaluated and realised. I think this is unique to museums and not really possible in other places.

 

In a number of my works, I have tried to address this issue of connectivity or collectivity. Seeing the influence that other people have on your experience is something that I think is highly important for understanding how our society works and could work in better ways. Therefore I have engaged in this hugely ambitious project, Little Sun, where connectivity, from the outset, has been one of the main topics: how one feels when one feels one’s own feelings – a felt feeling.

 

Olafur Eliasson