Elemental Spaces

"Elemental Spaces"

Tamiko Thiel. Juried Artist
As Above, So Below
23 June – 13 October

Artist Statement

Elemental Spaces is an ongoing project that invites participants to inhabit the deep time of geologic and cosmic processes. It is an interactive mixed reality experience in which participants‘ actions release elements into a virtual world to form first the universe, then the solar system, then the Earth, and finally enable life on Earth. It also confronts our illusion that if we can describe a natural phenomenon we have mastered it: participants are in the role of sorcerer‘s apprentices who set in motion processes they cannot control.
Participants put on a VR headset and then alternately grasp one of four bowls between their hands. Each bowl contains one of the classical Greek Elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire), and the participant’s touch releases the element into the virtual world visible in the VR headset. The artwork uses ‚Lewis structures,‘ depicting molecules with the letters of its constituent atoms (e.g. H2O), to bridge from the classic Four Elements to the contemporary atomic elements. The Lewis structures are also an attempt to understand the myriad invisible substances that are vital for life on this planet, but whose precarious balance we are upending with breathtaking disregard for our survival: CO2, CH4 (methane), O2, etc.

About the artists

Tamiko Thiel‘s life work creating politically and socially critical media artworks exploring place, space, the body and cultural identity has won the 2018 SAT Montreal iX Visionary Pioneer Award, in 2024 the SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Lifetime Achievement Award in Digital Art, and induction into the inaugural cohort of the AWE XR Hall of Fame. In 2024 CAI Magazine ranked her in the top 10 most famous digital artists in the world. Christoph Reiserer wrote the original music for Elemental Spaces. His prize-winning works include performance, video and electronic sound installations, as well as chamber operas.

Credits: Tamiko Thiel, artist. Christoph Reiserer, music. Steffen Schreiber, sound engineering. Peter Graf, technical director. Concept and Prototype funded by a generous grant from the FilmFernsehFonds Bayern. Diffuser oil scents courtesy of Demeter Fragrance Library.

URL: https://tamikothiel.com/elemental/

ISEA2024 acknowledges the Turrbal and Yugara as the First Nations owners of the lands where the symposium will be held. We pay our respects to their elders, lores, customs and creation spirits. We also acknowledge and pay respects to all First Nations peoples across the continent and beyond Australian shores.