Blog / The Moire Effect

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By Wendy

It takes two staffers, five days, 12 pages of instructions and a very precise laser level tool to build “The uncertain museum.” This walk-in installation by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson opens July 19. The list of materials is unusual, even by contemporary art standards: 30 aluminum poles, a large scrim about 20 feet long, wooden flooring and carpet, four motors, a lamp, three mirrored glass discs, each 30 inches in diameter, and one slightly larger mirrored disc.

The result will be a circular, translucent room that is 11 feet tall. One gallery pavilion will be devoted to “The uncertain museum,” which invites visitors to step inside and cast patterns of projected light and shadows from the discs. When they rotate and move past one another, the discs create a moire pattern  intended by the artist.

And that moire pattern is the most difficult part of installing this work: The center dot of all four discs must be perfectly aligned, each the same distance from the floor, according to preparator Alan Dippy. “The rotation of these things has to be spot on,” Alan said. “Or there’s trouble!”

IMAGE: Preparators Alan Dippy (left) and Patrick Krivacka build Olafur Eliasson’s “The uncertain museum.” Photo by J Caldwell.

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