writer, editor & strategist

Olafur Eliasson and the weather in NY

Added on by Sara Distin.

It’s been a particularly wet and gray day in Brooklyn. If you live here and you don’t have a car, chances are you hate this weather because you will inevitably have to spend a portion of your time getting from here to there out in the rain and arrive at your destination a little wet. I live here and don’t have a car and love this weather. It reminds me that Manhattan and Brooklyn are surrounded by water and that despite our best efforts to obstruct or outsmart Mother Nature, she usually prevails, in little ways like this rainy day reminder of the water cycle and in big ways, like the devastation in Myanmar.

I’m not going to talk about Myanmar because you can read more at the link provided but I don’t want to sound like I am making light of a serious situation when I go back to talking about the East River, and the weather, and of course, art.

So today, not only was the East River flowing around my neighborhood in Greenpoint but it was also saturating the air and maybe/hopefully/eventually generating sustainable energy. As far as I know, the underwater turbines are gaining financial support but have yet to be re-installed for another trial. The first time around, the river was so powerful it broke blades and other pieces off the turbines.

Apparently, it’s not easy to make water do things according to human plans. That is, unless you are Olafur Eliasson, then you can make a waterfall run uphill. What Eliasson makes clear though, is that while you can accomplish this feat, it sure isn’t pretty. PS 1 has the better half of his retrospective show, “Take Your Time,” including Reversed Waterfall, 1998 and Model Room, 2003, a peek into the man’s brain and his obsessions with spheres. Not to be missed at MOMA is Wall Eclipse, 2004 which is as almost as enchanting as watching an actual eclipse but you have the opportunity to experience it again and again. It’s like rewinding and replaying that moment on west coast beaches when the sun drops below the horizon more quickly and more brightly than you expect. And, oh yeah, one thing not to be missed at PS 1? Beauty 1993 (above). The installation occupies one of the dank rooms in the basement of PS 1, and is essentially, a misty day in New York. Enter it and you will surely be as damp as you were getting to work this morning, only this time, you will have paid for it. Are you starting to share my appreciation for gray days in the city yet?