"Eliasson watches spectators [present and media forms] and studies their responses in a search for new ways of surprising them, of heightening their perceptions. When he talks about his Green River project, for example, it is mostly in terms of how the witnesses react. Green River involves dyeing a river green, and so far he has done it four times. In Tokyo, he says, ‘a lot of people stopped and looked… And of course they were stunned. I did it in a spot where the cherry blossom comes out a month later. It’s well known as a beautiful place. Actually the police came and. basically I ran away. And the police then put up posters asking anybody who had seen somebody suspicious to contact them. [He laughs.] I have a photograph of the poster.’
It is, as he puts it, ‘a kind of action’. He doesn’t seek permission (though he makes sure the dye is safe) and he doesn’t give notice; he also picks fairly small sites and it’s all over in two or three hours. ‘If you do it on a big stage the mediation of the project immediately becomes quite sensational. I’ve tried to avoid that spectacular approach.’ The purpose of the project is the response. ‘Los Angeles, Stockholm, Tokyo are places where the relationship between the water and the city is completely different, and the way people experience and refer to the water in their local setting is very different. It has been interesting for me to investigate that relationship.’"