Reality projector

Olafur Eliasson: Reality projector

I finally got to see an exhibit by one of my favourite visual artists: Olafur Eliasson. The exhibit is called Reality Projector and it's on display now at the Marciano Art Foundation in LA.


I've been looking forward to seeing a visual installation from Olafur Eliasson forever. I love their complexity, and Reality projector was no exception. I had a really hard time figuring out the message and meaning behind this exhibit.


The installation itself is in a dark room with a projector casting light through coloured screens. The lights shift and the colours change with sound effects playing over the changes. I tried to get a video, but was unsuccessful in uploading it! It definitely is something you should see for yourself.

The day after I saw Reality projector I watched Annihilation. It's new sci-fi movie where a 'shimmer' covers part of a national park. One of the characters calls it a prism, and says the prism refracts everything, including genetic information, making crossbreeds of everything.

I thought there is a connection between this exhibit and the film. The room in front of the installations contains prism-like objects and tesseracts hanging from the ceiling.


Traditionally, hypercubes like the above, represent multiple dimensions. Just because human eyes are unable to see beyond 3D doesn't mean nothing else exists. The Reality projector could be opening us up to possibilities beyond what out senses can comprehend.

Or is the projector showing us everything through a prism or tesseract of our choice? Maybe by casting images though a prism, it presents an alternate reality. Like I wrote in my previous post about Louise Gl├╝ck's poem Prism, we could be the prism through which a new possibility is conceptualized.

Annihilation made me think of this exhibit, especially when one of the characters called the formation a prism. The film goes on to broach the concept of our physical body and its' surroundings. Can our mood or attitude affect our DNA replication? How much of our physical body is separate from the rest of our world. And what part do we play in changing any of it. This is similar to the Hindu concept of the Brahman: we are part of the universe and all parts of it are inside us. Reality is not aways something readily visible, and is ever-changing.

I believe the real purpose behind the Reality projector is to ask ourselves all these questions and search for the answers. What is real to us is not always easy to grasp. This is one of the reasons Olafur Eliasson is such an incredible artist. What is art, if it doesn't make you question your concept of reality?