Jonas Dahlberg b. 1970
Weightless Space (2004)
Year 2004. Single channel video installation. Projection size 400 x 300 cm., Silent

In Jonas Dahlberg’s video Weightless Space, the work that comes closest of any in the exhibition to expressing pure abstract space, the walls are the only feature of which one can be certain. Projected onto a false wall, creating the illusion of an extension of the box made to house it, the video shows a conventional, empty 1970s room, with a door slightly open to a brightly lit outside. The only object is a pot with a green plant that floats slowly around the room as if unaffected by gravity. The process of watching this endless film that focuses solely on weightlessness changes the viewer’s perception of their own body, bound by gravity, as unusually heavy. Having been seduced by the mesmeric movement of the pot, the viewer’s reactions shift to physical discomfort and loneliness, caught between his being and empty space. Although the room presented is the kind of neutral environment that we pass through on a daily basis, because the room itself is stripped back to the fundamentals of floor, walls and ceiling, our normal experiences of time and space become disorientated, the familiar uncanny.

Weightless Space appears to be digitally manipulated, but is in fact created by a camera movement through an artificially constructed space. A model of the room, placed in an aquarium filled with glycerol, was connected to a camera and the entire structure attached to a gyroscope which rotated the model in front of the camera. Dahlberg’s comment that ‘as an artist I can command a space perhaps even more fully than an architect who always has to hand over his creation’ affects one’s reading of Weightless Space. Although the model is an autonomous environment, not dissimilar from an architect’s model, it is designed purely to produce an illusory image of a timeless, science-fiction type environment.

-- Felicity Lunn, Interior View; Artists explore the language of architecture. (Catalogue text)
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