Who is we?

The WeUsed.To platform carves out space for people to share their experiences of COVID-19. Perhaps through the wide spectrum of individual contributions we can find what thoughts, feelings, realisations, and insights we have in common. When writing a statement, users choose to frame their contribution using ‘I’ or ‘we’. An ‘I’ signals a clearly individual perspective, of course. A ‘we’, however, it more ambiguous. What perspective does that ‘we’ represent? Whom are we speaking for? ‘We’ can be an inclusive pronoun, acknowledging a broader community with shared concerns. And ‘we’ can be exclusive, sometimes inadvertently leaving out groups or elevating one ‘we’ at the expense of other ‘we’s. A particular use of ‘we’ is innocent to one user but will be exclusive and even unjust to others. As WeUsed.To has unfolded, ‘we’ the project initiators have witnessed this. And the complexity of ‘we’ has afforded in-depth conversations about how to deal with the term. Not only do COVID-19-related topics appear on the platform, but also concerns related to political events and race discussions. As authors of the site, we find it important to acknowledge the potential friction in ‘we’ statements while retaining the option for users to choose their perspective. The ‘I’/‘we’ choice is an invitation to actively become aware of and reflect on the communities we participate in, their scope, and their co-existence and/or overlap with other communities – or lack of the very same. It is an invitation to reflect on who speaks and for whom, and on what these speech acts do in the world.

WeUsed.To was conceptualised by Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin in collaboration with Andreas Roepstorff and a group of researchers at the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University, along with Alan Woo and Daniel Massey. It is part of the ongoing research collaboration ‘Experimenting, Experiencing, Reflecting’ (EER), funded by Carlsbergfondet.

‘The eye and fantasy feel more attracted by nebulous distance than by that which is close and distinct in front of us.’ – Caspar David Friedrich ‘Colour experiment nos. 80 and 81’, 2019 (photos: Jens Ziehe) instagram.com/p/CDTQ_2TI9TR/

Who is ’we’? weused.to/whoiswe/

Friend of the studio Francisco Regalado has co-created the virtual sculpture exhibition ’Any two things in the world are connected by a third. The secret is figuring out what that third thing is’ – presented in the form of an AR app @pequodco. pequodco.com/exposiciones-i…

Los, für Lesbos! Olafur’s artwork ‘360º compass’ – along with unique items donated by 23 other prominent artists in Germany – is being raffled off to raise money to aid the rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean. Visit losfuerlesbos.com #LosFuerLesbos #LeaveNoOneBehind https://t.co/8gTZMTerhW

Big Bang Fountain, 2014 ‘As artists, we conjure magical figures, weave speculative fictions, animate feral and partial connections. We necessarily stumble. And try again. With every mark, difference haunts and struggles to appear anew.’ – from Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet

Care is ‘a feeling with, rather than feeling for, others’. – Hi'ilei Julia Hobart & Tamara Kneese undp.org/content/undp/e…

‘To a certain extent thinking about sustainability is similar to what is going on as a result of the current corona crisis: we are being forced to reconsider the way we do things.‘ – Olafur interviewed by Delayed Gratification magazine ‘In real life’, 2019 @MuseoGuggenheim

When was the last time you listened to what a tree had to say? If you could give your voice to a plastic bag or piece of fruit, what would they say? Download the @EarthSpeakr app today for iOS or Android, and encourage a child to share their own message. earthspeakr.art

Navigation instagram.com/p/CC-i1tko4t3/

‘Your atmospheric colour atlas’, 2009 – walking through the dense, illuminated atmosphere, visitors navigate the space by using this intuitive colour atlas. Now on view @MuseoGuggenheim as part of Olafur’s solo exhibition ‘In real life’ Photo credit: Erika Ede

‘The traces [of our dark histories] may not exactly be “sensible” in their specificity, but that is where experimental art becomes all the more urgent—to provide methodologies for sensing differently.‘ – TJ Demos online.ucpress.edu/afterimage/art…

‘Seeing spheres’, 2019, installed at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

‘The seeing space’, 2015 (photo: Erika Ede) – now on view as part of Olafur’s solo exhibition ‘In real life’ @MuseoGuggenheim in Bilbao.

How important is perception when it comes to climate issues? ‘There is, I believe, a liberating potential in reflecting on our senses, on perception, in seeing our own role in how we create the world.’ – Olafur Image: ‘Your colour memory’, 2004 (photo: Aaron Igler)

‘A walk in the space between us (jumping)’, 2018 (photo: Jens Ziehe)

Today we’re sharing a new version of the #WeUsedTo project website, now with an option to ‘drift’ through the collection of responses and encounter people’s thoughts in a more spatialised, nonlinear way. Feel free to add your own contributions! weused.to https://t.co/yH8NpRIQJy

‘Symbiotic seeing’, installed @KunsthausZurich 2020 (photo: Franca Candrian) instagram.com/p/CCqHpSaHXk0/

‘... at the point of fluctuation between the motion in water and the immobility of frost, strange and beautiful forms are evolved.‘ – Nan Shepard in ‘The Living Mountain’ ‘Still river’, 2016 (photos: Anders Sune Berg) instagram.com/p/CCn7_OooYMB/

‘The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. ...‘ – Rebecca Solnit ‘Blue hour flare’, 2020 (photos: Jens Ziehe) instagram.com/p/CCiiXxjIpFO/