Olafur Eliasson: Your Split Second House

An installation that's a flash of inspiration
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Olafur Eliasson, Your Split Second House (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

1 / 2 Olafur Eliasson, Your Split Second House (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

Olafur Eliasson, Your Split Second House (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy

2 / 2 Olafur Eliasson, Your Split Second House (2010), Venice Biennale, Italy


Olafur Eliasson, a Danish artist who frequently makes use of natural phenomena in his work, created a kinetic installation called Your Split Second House. In a dark room, three streams of water twist in the air, falling from the roof to the floor in an erratic motion. The sound is continuous, but the strobe lighting illuminates the room in tiny intervals, during which the water seems immobile, like a smoothed-out bolt of lightning. The installation nicely establishes the limits of your own perception – at first, you’re not sure how to interpret what you’re seeing – but at the same time your vision is stretched to physical capacity – you’re sure you saw something and want to investigate further.

Known for a collaborative practice that includes not only artists, craftsmen, and architects but also historians and cooks, Eliasson recently contributed a foreword to the book Noma in which he describes the experience of eating a dish created by head chef Rene Redzepi, as helping to ‘keep our senses keen’ – a statement that applies equally well to his own work.

 

By Sara Goldsmith
Project Editor, Architecture & Design, Phaidon


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