Small Spatial Experiments by Studio Olafur Eliasson

"The Organic and Crystalline: Olafur Eliasson and Mark Z. Danielewski in Conversation

By Sasha Engelmann, Advised by Dr. Ursula K. Heise


"Danielewski, like Eliasson, is heavily invested in what it means to experience spaces that we cannot physically sense, and specifically, in what it means to perceive such spaces in a textual format.  These artists have chosen to represent houses – architectural “containers” that mediate the earliest development of the human perception of space, and which provide some of the first experiences of emotional investment in a place, a home.  The startling specificity in the shared aesthetic endeavors and strategies of these artists from dramatically different creative fields, mediums and philosophies invites further examination, interpretation and critique."

"The greater set of terms in which the artworks by Danielewski and Eliasson position their participants can be described as a hyper-ecology.  Both artists employ digital media and technologies to fashion their experiments in space and virtuality, but it is in the blending of synthetic with organic construction that the true power of the creative experience exists.  This aspect also fundamentally differentiates the work of Eliasson and Danielewski from that of many other contemporary artists, who work primarily with either organic matter or synthetic display.   Eliasson engineers unnatural effects for tangible environments in which colors, sounds, fog and water can be perceived as having agencyIn House of Leaves, Danielewski weaves prose, scholarly work, film and poetry into a landscape where the reader occupies a distinct ecological niche.  Both artists reach beyond the boundaries of the formats in which they work, demanding that the viewer extend her exploration of the artwork into the world.  Informed by what Frederic Jameson terms hyperspace, these works are also ecological in their status as platforms for an infinitely large artistic frame."