erika janunger: weightless.

Swedish artist and designer Erika Janunger’s short film “Weightless” is one of those things that you watch, and while you’re watching you’re not totally sure what you’re seeing or why you even like it, and then you realize you’ve watched the whole thing. Then you watch it again. Then you realize you’ve let it sink in and feel like an ass for not loving it the first time. But that’s the thing sometimes about breaking new ground – it’s so new you need to digest it and let it breathe until you really catch on to what you’re seeing.

A combo of dance and interiour design, this short film was Janunger’s masters project and is her way of exploring the intersection of architecture, choreography, and music. Though she’s not the first film maker to tilt a set to create the illusion of defying gravity, I’ve never seen it done so quite unapologetically before. It’s not a gimmick or just a visual trick – this weightlessness is part of these girls’ reality. Counter to our normal fantasies of the freedom of flight, they seem (in a crazy paradox) weighted down by their very weightlessness. Like it’s a cross they bare. When brilliant dancers Malin Stattin and Tuva Lundkvist gaze right into your eyes, you can tell this isn’t a state of being they’ve chosen for themselves.

She’s also almost shockingly multi-talented. She not only directed, art directed, and set designed “Weightless”, but she also wrote the music and lyrics to it’s haunting soundtrack. She’s got a Tori Amos-esque sound that I clearly dig, and she’s an equally accomplished liver performer. In fact her site divides into two sections – design and music. On the music portion you can download a few tracks for free and order her debut album “Hazy”. Plus, you can see a video of her performing live at the Lilith Eve’s Gala in Stockholm here.

On the design side, her site is a trove of various projects, including “Workshop in the Woods” where she lit up a forest near Gothtenburg, Sweden.

In fact the more you look into her work, the more it seems like there’s nothing she can’t do. Holding a masters in interiour architecture and furniture design from the College of Art, Craft, and Design in Stockholm, Janunger clearly has an eye for design. But it’s her drive to explore the art of how people interact with her creations – with lighting, with a chair – that sets her apart. She is driven to create, as her statement on her site makes pretty clear:

“Creating architecture and design, is like making music. By using three dimensions – three notes, you make a chord. By using many chords, shapes and spaces – you can create an entire world… I want to understand how all that works, I want to create surroundings and objects based upon peoples lives and feelings. I want to create worlds, I want to play God.”

Via Brian Fichtner @ Cool Hunting


  1. oh my god. that was incredible.

  2. That was astonishing in every sense. Thank you for posting it.

    I think the lights symbolize souls, and that what we see here are basically biographies, learning through experience and coming to acceptance, beginning to understand how to work within the world we now see more clearly, and then eventually transcending it.

  3. “you can tell this isn’t a state of being they’ve chosen for themselves.”

    Indeed, you really get that sense when the dancer in the second room in throwing the books around, and then resigs to reading one while sitting on the side wall. It feels like they lash out against it for a while and then give in eventually. I wonder what the lights symbolize in this piece.

    Great find, really inspiring stuff.

  4. Beautiful feel. That’s one great ‘float’~

  5. Interesting…

  6. Wow. That was really good. The way she did it just made it all seem so artistic. People say their work is their vision, and a lot of the time that’s hard to see, but this truly was a vision.

  7. tempophage says:

    i’ve seen this same trick before, but never as effectively as this. the choreography and the skill of the dancers make this piece as disorienting at the end as it was at the beginning. in other uses of this technique, once i saw the trick, the wonder was gone. not the case at all here, the wonder never stopped. congratulations to erika and especially to her dancers. bravo

  8. fivehusbands says:

    Amazing. You describe in perfectly – I couldn’t quite get my brain around it the first time. I have watched it 3 more times – turning my laptop around and around to change the perspective. Thanks for sharing this one!


  1. […] Ok, so the wall is actually the floor, but it doesn’t actually matter, this lady is fit, with a capital fuh, and has the body tone to maintain the illusion. […]

  2. […] “Weightless” by Erika Janunger April 26, 2008 at 4:22 am | In Art, Dance, Design, Eye Candy, Music | Dance + Music + Design – Gravity? […]

  3. […] Mail und shape+color Lesezeichen erstellen/Beitrag suchen […]

  4. […] erika janunger: “weightless”. […]

  5. […] online.  But the interest slowly waned.  Then, in reading Shape and Colour, I saw the post on Erika Janunger and hurried to check out her website.  I thought to myself, I’m a designer (of sorts), I can […]

  6. […] shape + colour Publié par Louis Classé dans: Grandes […]

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