Sorry to paste this whole email in here, but I’m not at home… in spare moments in the temp assignment I’m on, I’ve been exploring this fascinating installation artist, Olufur Eliasson. Check out his website. Unfortunately I can’t go to the talk next week, but this abstract and your post on wilderness resonated. I like to think of ‘wilderness,’ in its true form, as something only a madman could comprehend, if at all. Though you are surely speaking of a caretaking role, honouring the wilderness and preserving it. Anyway, just dropping by for a moment:

On Olufur Eliasson:
http://www.olafureliasson.net/index.html

On Mark Cheetham:
http://www.fineart.utoronto.ca/faculty/cheetham.htm

Mark Cheetham
(History of Art/Canadian Studies, University of Toronto)
“Interfaces of Art, Science, and Technology:
Seeing and Thinking with Olafur Eliasson”

Abstract:
Olufur Eliasson is a Danish/Icelandic artist whose complex and provocative art installations challenge and potentially extend our idea of what nature is and how we can coexist in community with the natural realm, however defined. In his best known work – The Weather Project (2003), seen in London, England ­ he illuminated the cavernous indoor space of the Tate Modern gallery’s turbine hall with the artificial rays of a giant indoor sun. The illusion of warmth transformed a former site of industry into an inviting micro-climate replete with the changeability typical of the weather in England. Fogs appeared and dissipated, distributing the pervasive yellow light. Serious visitors responded to this new amenity with contemplative awe. Others saw it as a welcoming public playground.

Eliasson¹s work is playful but also profound. Working in transformed urban spaces, he seeks to blur the boundaries between inside and outside, to show how easily we can move from one to the other without the categories of nature and culture to define where we are or how we are supposed to behave. Our perceptual and emotional experience is the passport. We structure provisional communities with our peers as we go. Ultimately, he sees these journeys as experiments in a new democracy. Asked what his work tells us about nature, he is disarming: “I don’t find anything out there — I find my own relation to the spaces. We see nature with our cultivated eyes. Again, there is no true nature, there is only your and my construct.”

Eliasson’s highly technical yet transparent work is an excellent discussion point for new ideas about the evolving definition of nature, about the uses of technology in the environment, and ultimately, about the interface between science and art.