Conceptualising the Aurora: An exploration of performative understanding through interactive art

This project is an artistic project based on the multimodal and interactive art installation "Aurora – Connecting Senses". Through this installation, we address the potential of interactive art to highlight certain understandings of a natural ‘reality’ and for engaging audiences in a further negotiation of these understandings.

Project information

Project members
Signe Kjaer Jensen, Linnaeus University, & Cristina Pop-Tiron (Babeș Bolyai University, Romania)

2018 - 2020

More about the project

In this artistic research project, we have designed and exhibited an interactive, art installation Aurora – Connecting Senses, which uses sound, light, colour, and interaction to explore common ideas about aurora borealis, the Northern Lights. The installation is created with inspiration from popular and scientific representations of the aurora (e.g. music, photos and films that show or mention the aurora) rather than from first-hand experience with the phenomenon, and should in this sense be considered an adaptation, or transmediation, of these popular and scientific media.

The installation is designed so that coloured light beams (see photo above) and associated sounds are activated and controlled by audience movement. In this way we invite audiences to create a new interpretation of the aurora by playing around with the installation and changing the colour and sound, within the restrictions set by us as artists and researchers.

Through theoretical reflection and observations of audience behavior, we further use the installation as a starting point for addressing the potential of interactive art to highlight or even construct certain understandings of a natural ‘reality’: How can the aurora installation, which itself is based on representations rather than first-hand experience, mediate information about the aurora? And how can the installation work to stress an interpretative and performative sort of understanding through making audiences into performers of an artwork?  And finally, how does the aurora installation relate to a more general category of interactive art that takes inspiration in natural phenomenon?