Earlier this week, the MIT List Visual Arts Center unveiled Northwest Passage (2018), a newly commissioned Percent-for-Art work by Olafur Eliasson for MIT.nano (Building 12), MIT’s new state of the art production and research complex devoted to nanoscience and nanotechnology. Eliasson will present an artist talk about this project on February 26, 6 PM, Ray and Maria Stat Center, Bldg., 32, Rm. 123, 32 Vasser St., Cambridge MA.
Northwest Passage, spanning 90 feet, is comprised of 30 polished stainless-steel panels, each of a different size and abstract shape, installed on the breezeway ceiling of the space, floating above visitors to MIT.nano (Building 12). These mirrored forms base their silhouette and configuration on the pattern of free-floating ice, the product of thinning ice coverage, found in the Northwest Passage between North America and the Arctic Circle. Seven semi-circular rings, each lined with an LED light and diffuser, are reflected in the mirror panels, creating the appearance of complete circles of light. This optical illusion elicits further inspection from the viewer, inviting them to enter the passageway and the connected university buildings.