Ket Katarina Popović media arts portfolio
Posted on February 28, 2019 by ketworks_cp8esr on Blog

De-objectification of art is not a form of escape

When looking at our ‘beloved’ objects in an over-objectified world, it is rather easy to see that they are not ‘for’ the people but that they stand ‘in between’ us, boxing the reality down into this digital mirage.

We become so focused on a ‘thing’ that we forget what really goes inside of us. It is a bit counter-logical that an artist removes an art object from the picture, but Olafur Eliasson makes an interesting point on the de-objectification of art so that the viewer can have a part in creating the entirety of the artwork, as well as to make that experience a collective one.

…I was hoping to see whether dematerialization would offer more agency to the person looking at or engaging in art. (1)

essay – But Doesn’t The Body Matter

It is in you

In my own work, I have noticed this underlying desire to make the message be the main actor or the ‘object’ of my work. In the Woods, Live Nature is the center of the reality-show-like, 24h live transmission. You are there with your senses, your thoughts and you, together with the live projection constitute this new spatial, immersive piece. You are the recipient, the missing piece, the creator and the visitor of the woods.

From Duchamp’s ‘non-retinal’ art to John Cage’s silent composition consisting of the sounds that audience and the ambiance makes, the shift from what we can see, touch and expect has had its numerous breakdowns and new rises. Interactive art is being finished within and with the visitor. Without them, it is in a way ‘still’, ‘possible’ artwork, waiting to be realized or ‘fulfilled’. (2)

Without ‘us’ the artwork does not exist

The trust that viewers bring to art, for example, entails the momentary suspension of the repressive system, a willingness to be surprised and “reprogrammed” … (3)

Touching upon the work of Nauman, Cardiff, and Ikeda (among others) in her book accompanying the exhibiton “Sensorium”, Caroline Jones poses an important question about the “after exhibition” state of the visitor. What are we to do when we are exposed to the sense encompassing, “immersive” experiences?

Bruce Nauman- Eat War

The amazing ability of technology used in artistic purposes, to encapsulate and wipe-out our senses, is not, she argues, for the purposes to make us more devastated but to help us re-configure and get us out of our own ego. Connecting with Olafur Eliasson’s desire of introducing more “we” to art:

…phenomenology led to a very strong focus on subjectivity: it’s all about me. It is very much about me experiencing everything, and I was more and more interested in “we” instead of “me”. (4)

New peace and forms of unexpected togetherness

One of the possible views is the contemporary ideal of peace – going into space or an “experience” for the purpose of cleansing, for almost like a therapeutical engagement with the very focused (not scattered) art activity.

Secondly, in the experience-based exhibitions, given that our senses are challenged in new ways, there is a growing possibility of unexpected togetherness in which we can move, interact or behave. Olafur is posing the seemingly ‘obvious’ question of public spaces actually becoming really communal and body-freeing in terms of experiencing the works. (5)


(1), (4), (5) Birnbaum, D, Kuo, M. editors, (2018), More Than Real – Art in the Digital Age, essay by Eliasson, O. But Doesn’t The Body Matter, Koenig Books, London

(2) Nunes, M. editor, (2011)  Error: Glitch, Noise, and Jam in New Media Cultures. New York London: Continuum Books.

(3) Caroline, Jones A. (editor) Sensorium. Embodied Experience, Technology and Contemporary Art (2006), First MIT Press Edition, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, List Visual Arts Center

Bruce Nauman gif from

Cover Image of Olafur Eliasson’s work by Corine Tiah from the exhibition Nothingness is Nothing at All at the Long Museum in Shanghai

Leave a Reply