Sensory Writing Over Time

The Big Idea:

How do perceptions change over time? How can art affect our perceptions of reality?

Activity overview

Olafur Eliasson is an artist who is deeply concerned with time and temporality. He creates installations that are often in motion, changing with every minute that passes. He believes that his art is an open-ended process completed in different ways by each viewer. In this activity, you will generate a descriptive essay in which you record observations of your bedroom at three different times of day. Writing, like Eliasson's art, is a process. Therefore, you will also participate in peer editing and then revise your first draft.

Look closely

Explore the works of Olafur Eliasson online. Be sure to click on all images, read all documents, watch videos, and use the zoom tool to look closely at the works of art. Choose one of these works and answer the following questions:

  1. How do you think it would feel to be inside the installation that Eliasson has created?
  2. Which of Eliasson's art works include natural elements? Describe them and identify each one and note how they are used.
  3. Which of Eliasson's art works include technological elements? Describe them and identify how technology is used.
  4. How does the element of time play into the work?
  5. Do you imagine that your physical presence in the space might affect your perception of the work?

In this activity you will:

  1. write three short pieces in which you describe your bedroom at three different times of day
  2. work with a partner to peer edit each other's work
  3. confer with your peer editor, discuss how your text can engage all five senses and be made more descriptive
  4. revise your first draft
  5. present your final draft to the class
  6. reflect on what you have learned about yourself

You will be graded on:

  1. quality of descriptive writing and clear expression of thought
  2. use of the five senses in description
  3. participation in peer-editing process
  4. written reflection