Olafur Eliasson and Psychology of colour research

To get some inspiration and direction for my project ‘Pain’ I decided to look at Olafur Eliasson as I realised that the easiest way to create pain in the viewer would be through the use of colour. The most important part of this artists practice to my current project is the way in which he uses colour, in the form of vibrant room lighting to ‘toy with viewers’ perceptions and to probe the nature of seeing.’ I find this concept absolutely fascinating as it means that his audience have a physical experience by viewing his art in the flesh. For example in some of his works he fills a whole room with nothing but neon lights emitting one colour, which results in the viewers vision being physically effected as they stop processing this colour after a while, so once they leave the room the way they perceive colour is different. I think this is very clever as very little artists work has effect on its audience nowadays as it seems that we are immune to being shocked by art but Eliasson’s technique means that the viewer has a physical reaction, whether or not they like the piece or even understand it. He has also caused some of his viewers to have a sensation of seasickness when placing a rotating mirror at an angle from a gallery ceiling. I think (although this is not the meaning of his work) that this is an interesting representation of how far art has gone, as we can no longer be shocked by Gothic novels or gruesome images, only by things that physically make our bodies react. From this interpretation I decided to look further into the psychology of colour, to see what colours would create pain in the viewer subconsciously. From this research I found that surprisingly too much yellow can create feelings of anxiety, depression and even make the viewer suicidal, whereas most people would associate this colour with happiness and positivity. I am now going to do some drawings to decide how I will develop these concepts that I have taken from my research, which I feel has been very beneficial to my project.

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‘Stalker’ Evaluation

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My final piece came out very differently to how I had originally envisioned it, as I was collecting media for this I found it hard to imagine what it would finally look like. Unfortunately I did not think it was possible to go as far as Calle and stalk strangers, as I did not want to actually become a stalker, I merely wanted to play a fictional character that I had fabricated. My ‘victim’ was one of my flat mates so I had access to her continuously throughout the duration of this project. I started by taking pictures of her doing everyday things such as her washing, buying coffee, walking to the train station, and found that the most successful and realistic photos where the ones taken through glass. Two of my favourite photos from this where of my subject looking out a window, and you can tell by the quality of the photo and the framing that I have had to zoom in a lot to get these images which I think speaks much loudly than the images themselves. I then went on to observe my subject more intimately through drawing her, but these observations where not as successful as I had hoped as drawing is not my strong point. The most successful part of this piece I think was my documentation of the stalking process by collecting small intimate items, such as cigarette butts and washing detergent, from my subject and then ordering and labeling them in chronological order in small see through bags. Image

I also wrote journal entries documenting the stalkers interaction with their victim; I think that these worked well as it allowed me to fabricate situations all through my piece. An addition that I had not planned was two train tickets to London and a receipt from the gig venue Koko. I decided to use these in my piece alongside a journal entry, but instead of using them on their own I decided to Google who was playing at the venue that night and showed a print screen of the venues website and the musicians EP which I had downloaded onto my itunes to show the power of the internet, and I feel that this addition actually worked very well. My aim was to set up the piece to realistically look like something you may find in a stalkers room, if I’d had more time on this project I would have collected much more documentation and would have liked to have filled a whole wall, as I think this would have made the piece overwhelming and given it more impact.