Artist: gustav hellberg Tags: Permanent art Permanent konst

There are many parallels between how scientists and artists work, according to . He is the artist behind the interactive piece XYZ in the interface between system and reality, which hangs from the ceiling in Navet, the new atrium-like building at SciLifeLab in Uppsala.


Peter Lundström

The light bars in the ceiling change as you move around the room. In fact, your mere presences is enough. The interactive work XYZ in the interface between system and reality is designed as a three-dimensional bar chart, and the led lights in the bars react to the slightest shift in the surrounding space.

The red colour indicates temperature change, the blue indicates humidity, and the green shows alterations in carbon dioxide level – all three factors that are crucial to human existence.
“I wanted to create a work that relates both to the research at SciLifeLab and to the space where the work is placed,” says Gustav Hellberg.
SciLifeLab in Uppsala is a national research centre for molecular bioscience. The daily activities relate mainly to calculations. DNA and genes are examined, and the data attained is transmitted to enormously powerful computers.

XYZ is an attempt to visualise the human activities that go on in the building,” Gustav Hellberg explains. The work is based on a general problem that we are all faced with when we look at the world around us: what information do we want to absorb, and what do we filter out?
XYZ alludes to our need to collect data and our constant urge to measure everything. Can we really be sure that the facts are right when we look closer at the interface between system and reality? This is an explicitly three-dimensional work, placed so that the entire piece can be seen from certain places, whereas only parts of it are visible from other angles. In this way, the details are dependent on the totality, which, in turn, relies on the details. XYZ playfully advises us to look at a problem from different perspectives to grasp the whole picture.

“Just like the ever-changing world around us, XYZ constantly generates new, abstract images, and in this way reminds us that the full picture is hard, not to say impossible, to achieve. Time, space and position are the inevitable operating field for both science and art,” says Gustav Hellberg.

Annica Kvint