Today's Daily Dirty Diary


In the new publication, ‘Olafur Eliasson’ in the Modern Artists book series, Marcella Beccaria examines how in 2003, the  Weather Project redefined the social function of the Tate Modern in London. Much in the same way that James Turell’s “Aten Reign” transformed the Guggenheim this summer in New York City, the installation, part of the Unilever Series in the Turbine Hall, set a precedent by challenging the role of space, light, and perception.

Visitors escaped the piercing London cold and entered a space engulfed by a blazing sun. Resembling religious iconography, Eliasson’s installation emanated rays of golden and amber hues which reflected off every wall and crevice of Turbine Hall. Visitors were left to revel in the grandeur of the space while interpreting their own role in this social experiment. Spontaneous human interactions soon ensued as people began to embark upon a metaphysical examination as well as a movement towards communal relationships. Some visitors simply gazed in wonderment while others lay on the floor in a range of formations.

Eliasson was intent on creating a fixed environment which invited a meditative experience. He accomplished this by encouraging the participation of museum employees through questionnaires eliciting reactions to the effects of climate. His own theories formed the basis behind his ground breaking installation:

“The weather has been so fundamental to shaping our society that one can argue that every aspect of life – economical, political, technical, cultural, emotional – is linked to or derived from it. Over the centuries, defending ourselves from the weather has proved even more important than protecting ourselves from each other in the form of war and violence. If you cannot withstand the weather, you cannot survive.”

Eliasson insisted that The Weather Project was based on “the human nuclear reaction” that takes place when messages are relayed between humans.


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