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A Man-Made Star Shines Over Stockholm

Olafur Eliasson's 'Your Star' uses light from a summer's day to illuminate the winter night.

by Kevin Holmes
09 December 2015, 1:50pm

Your Star, 2015, Helium balloon, aluminium casing, lithium iron phosphate battery, 30W LED light, Stockholm 2015. Photo: Anders J. Larsson / Nobel Media

. Courtesy of commissioned by Nobel Media. © Olafur Eliasson

It's the annual Nobel Week in Stockholm, Sweden, with the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony being hosted on Thursday (the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on same day, but in a ceremony in Oslo), and to celebrate this, artist Olafur Eliasson, fresh from laying down 90 tons of glacial ice at the COP21 summit, is putting man-made stars in the skies of Sweden's captial for public artwork, Your Star.

The piece, which creates a new "star" above Stockholm City Hall, is an LED light encased in a specially-designed aluminum sphere. The light that radiates from it uses energy harvested from the sun last summer using a solar panel, which was then stored in a lithium iron phosphate battery. The idea is that it takes energy from a sunny summer's day and lights up a frosty winter night with it. It's hoisted into the air using a 10m diameter helium balloon.


Your Star, 2015, Helium balloon, aluminium casing, lithium iron phosphate battery, 30W LED light, Stockholm 2015. Photo: Alcuin Stevenson / Studio Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy of commissioned by Nobel Media. © Olafur Eliasson

The temporary artwork, which will shine in the sky until the end of the week (weather permitting) from around 10PM until 6AM, also has an interactive component, a website where people can make their own stars in a virtual night sky, along with a series of films called Making Your Star. These six films (you can watch the first, second, and third below) feature Eliasson talking about the process behind creating a new work, from the unstructured freewheeling beginning where the nascent idea begins to take form, through sketching it out, to the final stage of releasing it to the public.

Eliasson will be also giving a talk with May-Britt Moser today in Gothenburg as part of the Nobel Week Dialogue called Intelligence in the Light of Art and Science at 3:15 PM GMT. It can be livestreamed here

Eliasson has used the sun's energy in many of his projects and artworks before, like his portable solar-powered lamp Little Sun, a solar phone charger Little Sun Charger, and his kinetic sculpture and sun tracker World Illuminator

Speaking about his man-made winter star made from summer light, Eliasson says, “Your Star shines old light. It makes the past present and illuminates a path for the future. The star lights up the Stockholm sky in celebration of the new knowledge, thoughts, and words of this year’s Nobel laureates. But it is not only the past achievements of the award recipients that will lead to positive new steps for the future; Your Star is equally about the everyday inspiration and dreams that we should all nourish. It encourages us to turn our dreams and hopes into potential for new ideas. It is a dream machine.”


Your Star, 2015, Helium balloon, aluminium casing, lithium iron phosphate battery, 30W LED light, Stockholm 2015. Photo: Alcuin Stevenson / Studio Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy of commissioned by Nobel Media. © Olafur Eliasson


Your Star, 2015, Helium balloon, aluminium casing, lithium iron phosphate battery, 30W LED light, Stockholm 2015. Photo: Anders J. Larsson / Nobel Media. Courtesy of commissioned by Nobel Media. © Olafur Eliasson


Your Star (detail), helium balloon, aluminium casing, lithium iron phosphate battery, 30W LED light, Studio Olafur Eliasson 2015. Photo: María del Pilar GarcIa Ayensa / Studio Olafur Eliasson. © Olafur Eliasson

You can watch the first three videos from Making Your Star below.

01 Making Your Star: The Space before an Idea Arrives from Studio Olafur Eliasson on Vimeo.

02 Making Your Star: Finding Words from Studio Olafur Eliasson on Vimeo.

03 Making Your Star: Sketching from Studio Olafur Eliasson on Vimeo.

Check out the Your Star website here and learn more about Olafur Eliasson here.

Related:

Hooray! The Planet Earth Finally Has Its Own Flag

Olafur Eliasson Harnesses the Sun with Giant Kinetic Mirrors

Anti-Gravity Dance Machine Proves Olafur Eliasson Just Has More Fun