Polarized site specific


Designmuseum Danmark

Commission exhibition

Photographer: Freya McOmish

Designmuseum Danmark

Kajsa Willner reveals gradient spectrums through disposable plastic into a material portrait about plastic waste.

Malmö-based Studio Kajsa Willner has created a site specific piece that sends polarized light through disposable plastic revealing hidden colors and gradient spectrums, currently on display at Designmuseum Danmark. The piece was commissioned for CHARTs CURIO initiative 2019, curated by Line Ulrika Christiansen and Pernille Stockmarr. The exhibition runs until 2020-03-20.

Polarized Portraits: A custom installation made to fit inside one of the exhibition vitrines at the outdoor gallery-space in front of the entrance of Design Museum Denmark.

The piece operates by using polarized light to reveal stress patterns in various disposable plastic, mimicking the function of a polarized light microscope. It comes alive when darkness has entered like the moon, revealing hidden colors and gradient spectrums in the plastic creating a material portrait with the aim to draw attention to the dilemmas surrounding plastic waste.

People are well aware about the plastic issues and how we over consume in particular on-the-go, disposable plastic that either ends up in nature or placed into landfill, without us even thinking about it. By highlighting a piece of disposable plastic the aim of the installation is to push for a more conscious consumer behaviour towards plastic.

The project started out in a former collaboration with a material scientist where Kajsa was asked to work with materials that the scientist was researching. Through exploration of the properties of polarized light – an optical phenomenon that occurs when waves of light oscillate in a single plane – light polarizers and different disposable plastics were used to play with bending, blocking and transforming light and force interference in the plastic to create various colorful material portraits.

Willner’s work plays with the optical phenomenon of polarized light microscopy to create an imaginative x-ray of planet Earth. The pieces examine how disposable plastic can become aesthetic optical art ‘portraits’ of our world, while remaining environmentally harmful plastic waste with the aim to push for a change.

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