Technico-scientific Experiments With Life And Death of Earth’s Inhabitants

The sun and the sun’s light are one – sun/light

Olafur Eliasson, The Weather Project 2003, Installation

The morning- and day-light was the first sun. The sun was the first god. God was at first a metonymy and later metaphor of the sun, but sun was not only light but warmth, not only light and warmth but life. God became the origin, creator and sustainer of life. He became a power capable of keeping darkness and death under control – at least at a relative distance, and he became the personification (not without the human aggrandizing self-projection) of sexual inexhaustibility and procreative might.

We were far from him as night – from the stars, as candle or a desk lamp – from the moon. We were banished from the beginning. When god of the sunlight and power of vitality opened himself to us, the best we could do is to become like gods in our small and shadowy way. We became god’s poppies. We are shadows in god’s world. We are the leaves of Creation, in one moment we live, and in the next we are withering away. But we know that god is our master. And this knowledge, as if, allows us to taste immortality.

Hundreds of thousand years we were allowed to be in our master’s world. We are nothing, but we know his empire. We try to understand it better. We are permitted to admire him for being the master, for permitting us to be worms of his soil, insects of his skies, and little crumbs of dreams from his imagination. Hundreds of thousands years have passed by.

Olafur Eliasson’s enchanted installation world of his “The Weather Project 2003” shows the viewers the sun/light as we perceived it before today‘s techno-scientific and technologically ridden perception established its artificial parameters, and we still perceive it like before. Majority of us still look at the sun/light through human sentimental projections. Installation’s sun/light is object of our admiring love, an object which never reciprocated our feelings – we live with our hurt feelings in regard to the sun, and yet we are nostalgic about the times when our love was full of hope. It didn’t happen, but our hope and nostalgia for it and our general amorous experience of one-sided dedication are projected into the sun, embracing it by the sacrificial mysteries of our sun-worship. We encircled the sun with endless trajectories of our love radiated by our bitterness of not being even noticed – the sun in Eliasson’s installation is, as if, surrounded by the “fog” of our teary love. Eliasson’s hazy sun is, as if, covered by our sentimental sentiments which, as if, took the sun within the psychological womb of our dedication.

Relationship with the sun/light which is scientific and pragmatic is a recent phase in our cathecting of the sun’s centrality in our life. And only a minority of us has been able to shift the paradigm of our emotional symbiosis with the sun. Through scientists and enthusiasts we hear about the possibility to industrially utilize what refused our appeal with such a cruel indifference. If it is impossible to be loved, may be, it really will be possible to survive on sun’s energy – in a wide utilitarian sense. As we see, our attempts to find new relations with the sun are not without our cowardly vengefulness. This scientific phase in our relationship to our sun is only marginally reflected in Eliasson’s installation. But his accent on the amorous-sentimental background in our long affair with the sun/light shows the psychological context of our future with the sun. And the danger can be that we eventually can become too technologically manipulative. It is like to create marriage when the amorous part is over. Our today’s predatory approach to Creation is already hurting the Earth, but, as with Earth, our engineer-like scientific rudeness and lack of reverie will make us behave too arrogantly in our endeavors to use the sun, when time will come.

The fairy-tale mysteriousness and reverie expressed in Eliasson’s installation can help us to prolong the amorous-sentimental modality of our relationship with sun. Look, how drastically we are shifted from adoration toward Earth to abusing it with our gluttonous greed. Eliasson’s installation communicates to us a wise moderation – the sun is represented as already within our built-up world where people don’t feel themselves united in the technico-scientific optimism and don’t feel happy but are rather confused. And they better have this confusion longer to have the time to brood about it. Let’s be careful, let’s stay the sun’s children. We are too psychologically weak and too egoistic and predatory to rush into collaboration with the sun without hurting ourselves.

Here we are reaching the most important aspect of our relations with the sun/light Eliasson’s installation awakens in us. Doesn’t the sun look trapped by the people who themselves look trapped by trying to trap the sun in some kind of a potentially apocalyptic intra-galactic intrigue? Here is a warning accent of Eliasson’s installation. Today, we are living through a fossil fuel apocalypse and tomorrow, probably, we will be drowned in a nuclear apocalypse. We need to survive these two to really talk about our possible techno-scientific ambitions with the sun. But Eliasson’s installation is super-historically, geo-historically and even cosmo-historically oriented, it embraces a big span of time. Elliasson’s point, it seems is that the apocalyptic phases of humankind’s technological period can happen almost simultaneously. What we see today is only the beginning. How many of them will we create?

The enigma of the aesthetic fascination Eliasson’s installation creates in the audience is that we cannot be sure – is it end of us or step towards a hopeful transformation. Is what the artist depicts our dying (together with trapped sun/light?), or beginning of something else, a new life, a new way of being, will it be a monstrous or a glorious or a mixture of the both and for what purpose, for what goal, for what kind of a future?