Whose reality?

I've pondered for a while before including Olafur Eliasson's TED talk on Photo-Dialogue but the more I watch it the better it gets.


Olafur was the guy who installed 'The Weather Project' at the Tate Modern; a setting sun which the Daily Telegraph described as 'a terrifying beauty'. 

By inviting people into the creative space Olafur questions who is the author and who is the consumer.  He says there is a 'socializing dimension' in moving the border and ultimately asks; "Whose reality is it?"

This is a critical question for those of us, consultants, artists, photographers who use their work to shift reality and create change.  I'm always interested in who speaks and who is listened to in the organisations where I work.  Who is it that is saying "This is how it is here... and this is what needs to happen"?

And yet there is another part.... Though we can use images to surface habitual patterns of power and influence, ultimately other people need to step forward and make their voice heard.  In a complex world it is often difficult to see the immediate value of our actions. Instead we react to the potential downside and, as a result, say nothing.  Olafur claims that art has a particular relevance for our complex and so he wants to create work that is sensitive to individuals and collectives and attempts to show causality and the consequences actions.

In making 'tangible spaces' he allows us to see the consequences of both our actions and experiences; "Experience is about responsibility. Having an experience is taking part in the world.  Taking part in the world is really about sharing responsibility."

Maybe as more of us begin to take responsibility our capacity for meaningful action grows.

Steve MarshallComment