The projects and preoccupations of the Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson inspired this unique collaborative enterprise by artist, curator, scientists, and art critics. In his art, Eliasson explores our conceptions of nature and the scientific tools we use to observe, measure, and control it. Through his worksinstallations, site-specific sculptures, and photographsthe laboratory within the museum becomes the site not only of knowledge but also of aesthetic and sensual pleasure. Distinguished by a poetic economy of means and a quiet, elegant beauty, his work combines the ephemeral natural effects of light, water, and wind with more tangible materials such as wood, moss, and grass. Eliasson has often said that he is trying to recapture the Iceland of his childhoodwith its hot springs, volcanoes, and frozen landscapesin his art.
In the book Eliasson's works serve as the thematic prism for a wide range of essays exploring the intersection of science and art. The contributors range from chemists, geologists, and physicists to architects and cultural theorists. Among others, they include Per Bak, Aaron Betsky, Daniel Birnbaum, Jonathan Crary, Gyorgy Darvas, William Day, Manuel de Landa, Diller + Scofidio, Norman Foster, Peter Galison, Manuel Gausa, Brian Greene, Elizabeth Grosz, Marianne Krogh Jensen, Rem Koolhas, Henri Lefebvre, Gunter Leising, Bruce Mau, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Robert Osserman, John Rajchman, Jaime Salazar, Erik Scheldon, Richard Sennett, Kurt Schilcher, Michael Speaks, Ben van Berkel, Anthony Vidler, Hans C. von Baeyer, Peter Weibel, and Manfred Wolff-Plottegg.