olafur eliasson's little sun at venice biennale
olafur eliasson's little sun at venice biennale olafur eliasson's little sun at venice biennale
sep 02, 2012

olafur eliasson's little sun at venice biennale


as part of the opening days of the 13th international architecture biennale in venice, danish-icelandic designer/artist olafur eliasson was introducing his ‘little sun’ project — a hand-sized solar-powered lantern — to visitors (and distributing a few) within the  ‘common ground’ exhibition curated by biennale director david chipperfield. designboom snagged a sample of the illuminating device and spoke with eliasson about the ‘little sun’ product which is set to be sold in europe for approximately €20 a piece,  and in africa for 10 USD. see designboom’s coverage of ‘little sun’ when it first debuted here.

‘little sun’
video courtesy of olafur eliasson
(main) image © designboom

olafur eliasson
‘little sun’ by olafur eliasson and frederik ottesen
photo by olafur eliasson
© frederik ottesen and olafur eliasson

olafur eliasson
‘little sun’ by olafur eliasson presented the venice architecture biennale 2012
image © designboom

olafur eliasson
image © designboom


within a dark room, ‘little suns’ hang from the ceiling illuminating a statement by olafur eliasson:


knowing feeling acting


we know a lot.
how does knowledge feel?
and how do you feel that you know?
how do you feel what you know?
how do your feelings feel?
your felt feeling!


consult your feeling of being disconnected and being connected,
being indifferent or committed.
does feeling connected make you more empathetic?
does empathy make your surroundings more tangible?
are your feelings embodied knowledge?
does your body drive action?
what space makes you want to act?
does your felt knowledge make space for others?
your felt space!


there is a difference between wanting to act and action.
one is thinking, the other doing.
do you recognize the feeling of wanting to act but not acting?
hold this feeling.
then consult your own experience of empathetic action.
now pause.
how does the discrepency between the desire to act
and the experience of action feel?
bring the pause to an end.


— olafur eliasson

olafur eliasson
installation view of ‘little sun’
image © designboom

a fan installation with two little suns spinning within
image © designboom

image © designboom


demonstration of the ‘little sun’ installation
video © designboom




as part of his initiative, eliasson has invited sixteen participating filmmmakers, all working in areas of the world where energy access is a major challenge, to each produce a short film on light, life and energy. on the occasion of the biennale,  ‘this is not a film by khavn, solar syokoy’ by khavn de la cruz of the philippines, was presented. his video work depicts a mysterious green creature donned in ‘little suns’ emerges from the comforts of its forest home and into the urban city.

still from ‘this is not a film by khavn, solar syokoy’

the short film’s protagonist is a mysterious green creature illuminated by ‘little suns’

the character explores all aspects of the city

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