Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun: The Power of the Sun in the Palm of Your Hand
International art star Olafur Eliasson has the unique ability to completely transform a space with his work, whether subtle inserts or an outlandish environmental takeover. Some of his past works are staggering in size, like his acclaimed New York City Waterfalls, which were installed just a few years ago along the East River of Manhattan.
With critically lauded pieces featured in major museums, galleries and installations around the globe, Eliasson’s wide body of work has inspired millions. His latest project, Little Sun, has seamlessly incorporated an interactive exhibition at London’s Tate Modern with a global initiative aimed at providing solar-powered light to some of the world’s 1.2 billion people who live without sufficient access to electricity.
For years, the sun has inspired Olafur Eliasson. The weather project (2003), which filled the Tate’s massive turbine hall for nearly five months, was a massive “sun” comprised of 18,000 watts of light bulbs. It illuminated a mist-filled concrete hall, giving over two million visitors an opportunity redefine their relationship to weather and the environment.
With Little Sun, Eliasson returns to the Tate with dreams of illuminating issues that frequently go overlooked. Earlier this year, Tate visitors were invited to stay after closing hours to participate in a Saturday night blackout, during which a selection of the museum’s Surrealist collection was plunged into complete darkness. Blackout participants were given a chance to explore the galleries using only the light of their Little Sun lamps.
Another floor of the gallery invited visitors to create light graffiti using Little Sun and take in some informative stats on solar power, energy consumption and the significance of light.
Together with engineer Frederik Ottesen, Eliasson’s team has created a sustainable and affordable alternative to the fuel-burning lamps commonly used by off-grid households – a pretty chic reading lamp, actually, wherever you are. As eye-catching as they are practical, the lamps are encased in a durable yellow plastic shell that resembles a flower-like sun. And the backside sports a solar panel for no-outlet-necessary recharging.
If you never made it to the Tate, you can still participate in this international exploration of light’s significance. Check out Little Sun’s Facebook page for ongoing news or order a lamp of your own now!
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The MINI International Vol. 41
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