When I was a teenager I was obsessed with street dance, breakdancing, and electric boogie, and I’ve been interested in physicality ever since. This was in the early eighties, and at the time, it gave me a physical relationship to my surroundings. It was a great way for me to gain self-confidence, and learn a lot about how I could express myself using my body. 

  • Olafur Eliasson, Your light movement, 2012

It particularly interested me that in breakdancing, you not only say something about your body; you also expose your surroundings. You pretend that there is suddenly no gravity, or you pretend that you are walking underwater, or that you are being blown over by the wind. The idea that you use your body to say something about your surroundings, or make your surroundings explicit, such as making gravity explicit by pretending it is not there – this later influenced me a lot in making art. It was very important for me personally because it allowed me to develop a relationship with space and time where the body played a role as one of the producers of space. When I was in art school, phenomenology became important for my understanding of space, architecture, and urban spaces. I took it for granted that the body is the main protagonist in what drives a space, pushes it into a shape, gives it form.

In early July, I made a film in my studio of four fantastic dancers performing a choreography that I developed with them on site. For this work, we invited the dancers to come and play around with physically interpreting the question: what does it mean to actually dance light? How does one physically express energy? The idea of physical energy or of physical power (and of course dancers typically have great physical power, not just in terms of strength, but in terms of presence), this idea of suggesting that having access to power also means having power yourself – there’s something in this that I like because it’s about the body. Since everyone has a body, it doesn’t make a difference whether you have electricity or not for how you feel when you dance; it’s something that speaks to everybody. You can dance and express your power by physically moving, by dancing it. You can perform power physically.

So with these four dancers we were in fact trying to dance the felt feeling of being a power station, a physical power station. Your personal power station is not just Little Sun. It’s also the power with which you can shape your life.