Your Mobile Expectations by Olafur Eliasson



Your Mobile Expectations, an installation by artist Olafur Eliasson based on the BMW H2R hydrogen-powered race car, opens tomorrow at the Pinakothek der Moderne museum in Munich.


For the project, Eliasson removed the car's body and replaced it with an ice-covered carapace.


The carapace was formed by spraying water onto a framework in sub-zero temperatures (scroll down to see photos of the process).


The vehicle is displayed in a specially constructed refrigerated room in the museum (below).


The project is the 16th in BMW's Art Car series, which invites leading artists to work with the marque's vehicles.


Your Mobile Expectations is a development of Your Tempo, an earlier version of Eliasson's Art Car that was shown at SFMOMA in San Francisco last year.


Info from BMW follows:


Olafur Eliasson – Your mobile expectations: BMW H2R project.

Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen and The Neue Sammlung – State Museum of Applied Arts and Design

Duration of exhibition: 29.05.–20.07.2008


At his only museum exhibition in Germany this year, the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (*1967) will present his project developed over the past three years and entitled "Your mobile expectations: BMW H2R project" at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.


The final version of the 16th BMW Art Car, the outer shell of which Eliasson replaces with a fragile skin of ice, will be celebrating its premiere in Munich. This Eliasson-designed automobile, the BMW H2R, is a racing car powered by hydrogen that has been developed to achieve speed records and at the same time point to the future in terms of sustainable mobility.


Olafur Eliasson, whose works are currently being presented in a comprehensive overview exhibition at the MoMA and the P.S.1 in New York, describes the debate relating to the hydrogen powered racing car in context with his artistic ideas: “By bringing together art, design, social and environmental issues, I hope to contribute to a different way of thinking-feeling-experiencing cars and seeing them in relation to the time and space in which we live. Fundamentally speaking, I don’t believe that objects exist in isolation. They are always part of a complex set of physical and mental relationships; they change according to the context and depend on the user’s values and expectations. They embrace relativity and the passing of time.”


Olafur Eliasson has removed the outer covering of the H2R prototype and replaced it with a complex skin of two reflecting layers of superimposed metal spanning the body of the car. This shape is covered with fragile layers of ice. Thus Eliasson transforms an object of advanced automobile technology and industrial design into a work of art reflecting themes of mobility, temporality, renewable energies and the relationship between car production and global warming in a sophisticated and poetic way.


“How do we give a tangible dimension to the fact that our engagement in the world has global consequences? How can we as consumers and creators of reality change the trajectory of transportation? Of moving? How can we put pressure on the car as an object?”


As a work of art located in time, Olafur Eliasson’s transformation of the H2R–automobile is a design provocation that opens up debates about the profound impact of art and design in their contemporary social setting. “Traditional car design has defined the car as a desirable object, a fetish almost, and a commodity, depriving it of its relationship to its surroundings and to time. Car design has primarily focused on the most profitable way of facilitating and mediating physical movement. We have to challenge this, and I think the task is to reintroduce time as the key producer of our experiences. Reality then becomes temporal reality. This reintroduction will give us the possibility to perceive the car and the consequences of driving in relation to our own bodies.”


To create and conserve the car’s ice coating, the vehicle is stored in a freezer. Over a period of several days Eliasson had the car’s exposed frame sprayed with some 2000 litres of water to gradually produce the layers of ice. This sculpture, which is in constant interplay with the room temperature surrounding it, is around 1.5 m high, 5.25 m long and 2.5 m wide. The mono frequency light located inside the sculpture attracts the eye to the interspace containing the icescape which is exposed to a continuous melting and freezing process.


In Eliasson’s sculptures and atmospherically unmistakable installations one senses not only the conditions under which they come about and the impact of their energy but also the beauty of natural phenomena. It is it not until they enter the perceptions of the viewer that they complement each other.


The exhibition is curated by Corinna Rösner and Bernhart Schwenk. Presentation: chezweitz, Berlin / Detlef Weitz, Roseapple An exhibition in close collaboration with BMW.


Lars Müller Publishers have published a 336-page comprehensive publication accompanying the exhibition and documenting as an integral part of the project the many discussions, interviews and the two “Life in Space” symposiums.

Posted on Wednesday May 28th 2008 at 10:58 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Jeff K

    I get the car will melt, like the ice caps are melting…..Dude, I like totally ‘get’ modern art.

  • edward

    er, BMW’ is making too much money. More taxes or give the workers a raise.

  • Zenza

    I R Confuse

  • illegal

    dude, i get it’re dick..

  • boti

    hummm… arrrr… aha… yesyesyes… so… this is a car you said…

  • Jeff K

    I think the correct phrase you are trying to say is ‘you’re A dick’, but good try Illegal.

  • Davide

    dunno about BMW, but surely Olafur Eliasson rulez!

  • JZ

    rulers landowners and generally rich scums were always patrons of the art since the renaissance..but we still admire michelangelo’s and leonardo’s achievents.. Now its big corporations and artists like eliasson..If we dot approve his choice of clients then we should do the same with the rest

  • CPCP

    “Car design has primarily focused on the most profitable way of facilitating and mediating physical movement. We have to challenge this …”

    I dont think a pretty ice sculpture is going to help convince car companies to facilitate a redution in their profits – especially considering the current debt of some car giants.

    Also – ironic that this is (at least partly) funded by these profits!!

    Finally – if this is trying to say ‘hey guys, lets focus on the environment and not on profits’ then why use a frozen sculpture requiring a huge energy consuming freezer which is powered by a coal plant producing the same hourly pollution of 1000’s of cars?

    Sorry to be so negative but I dont see the point.

  • florian

    looks like a scaled up sls model designed at a gc course
    for beginners.

  • mama

    i dont know whut to say

  • theService

    I agree with CPCP. It seems so brainless to celebrate and inspire green intitiatives with such resource-consuming, ultimately gainless production. I guess that’s what they mean when they say the project will “point to the future in terms of sustainable mobility”. Keeping pointing…I suppose we’ll get there one day……

  • Mattia

    I saw this when it was at the SFMoMA in its earlier version. It was an interesting experience where you had to don a large blanket before entering into the large refrigerator space. Once inside the car presented itself in the center of the room like some sort of idol. It was all very dramatic, but standing in front of the piece the connection to its original form as a car was almost entirely lost to me, and it presented itself much more as an object.

    It looks like they have improved on the implementation of the ice adhering to the structure. It wasn’t nearly as rounded and smooth as it looks in the first image.

    As for what you guys are saying about its connection to sustainability, I hear ya. That said, it was an experience I’m glad I was able to see.

  • jed

    it took a hell of a lot of energy to make this green statement!

  • charles

    I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really don’t understand the purpose of covering car with ice and say its a “green” statement.


    Wait, I think I get it….
    Olafur is covering the car with ice, saying stop driving, like “hey you can’t drive anymore, I covered it with ice”, because the ice caps are melting……………?

  • Bri-guy

    Dude…………………………………………………………………where’s my CAr?
    (I have been waiting to use that phrase!!!)

    Nice statement, low on functionality!

    Olafur Eliasson is AMAZING and Rocks!!!!!

  • Lim

    It looks like a building made by Calatrava when i first browse through dezeen webpage… But it is a car and it is covered with ice.. Hmmm.. Global warming truly is an important issue yes!!

  • paintersong

    nature is design

  • bmw

    looks like some cheap gc, paracloud, rhino model that just about any kid on the block is pulling off these days. funny how artists wish they could be architects! big MISTAKE they should stick to their pop sickles.

  • amonwalls

    This idea sucks!

  • headplow

    Although it is fair to say that a large portion of energy was used to create this “green” statement, consider this for a moment – Will this sculpture or event based on the sculpture or blog of the event based on this sculpture create enough environmental awareness to justify said energy use? The end justifies the means. Perception is everything.

  • dometone

    “Will this sculpture or event based on the sculpture or blog of the event based on this sculpture create enough environmental awareness to justify said energy use?”


  • j

    his work is awesome, not sure about the car, but typical for a bunch of design keeks to harp on its functionality. thats not the point…. its much more interesting than the many painted cars