© Studio Olafur Eliasson. via artdaily.org
Olafur Eliasson's first permanent installation in the United States is scheduled to open on the campus of Bard College on May 16, 2009. The work titled Parliament of Reality is located near the Richard B. Fisher Center of Performing Arts Center. The $1.2 million project has been commissioned for Bard by the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard and is funded by the Luma Foundation
From the Press Release issued by Bard College:
The Parliament of Reality consists of a circular pond approximately 135 feet in diameter surrounded by a ring of 24 planted trees. Nestled in the center of the pond is a circular island, paved with individual stones that inscribe a twelve-point pattern derived from the meridian lines of nautical charts and the compass. The island is accessed via a stone bridge covered by a steel latticework tunnel. Based on the island’s floor, the tunnel’s design is composed of a series of ellipses, which gradually intensify toward the point where the bridge and island meet. As visitors cross the bridge, the tunnel’s design appears to gradually shift, providing a symbolic temporal experience evocative of the work’s overall conceptual goals. Large, smooth boulders situated in two rows around the outer rim of the island provide seating.
Eliasson notes that the “Icelandic parliament is called the Althing, meaning: a space for all things.” He envisions this project as “a place where students, teachers, and visitors can gather to relax, discuss ideas, or have an argument.” Eliasson states that the project “emphasizes that negotiation should be at the core of any educational scheme. It is only by questioning what one is taught that real knowledge is produced and a critical attitude can be sustained.”
In early March I snapped a couple of photos of the installation site as work progressed. Above, you can see shimmering facade of the Gehry designed Fisher Center beyond the construction site.