Olafur Eliasson's Riverbed - A research of the encoding and decoding processes involved in the meaning-making of a modern art exhibition

by Lena Kühn

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: reception analysis; encoding/decoding; focus group interview; modern art; communication models; Stuart Hall
Record ID: 1121456
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/17380


This project deals with the perception of the exhibition Riverbed by Olafur Eliasson. We aim to find out, how the exhibition was encoded by the artist and decoded by students. In order to examine this topic, a focus group discussion has been conducted and a “quick and dirty” survey at Louisiana served as a supplement to get a deeper insight. The theoretical frame is given by Stuart Hall’s four step model of encoding and decoding. In order to examine the production stage of Riverbed, a monological interview with Eliasson was taken into account. The main finding of this research is that meaning-making of an abstract artwork as Riverbed cannot be regarded as a linear transmission process from sender to receiver, but must be approached in much more flexible and complex terms.