Venice 2017 – At the 57th International Art Exhibition, Olafur Eliasson and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary showcase the Green Light workshop, a “modest strategy for addressing the challenges and responsibilities arising from mass displacement and migration”. Visitors are invited to join a program of events engaging refugees, architects, designers, film-makers and urban-planners to create polyhedric modular lamps which are also on sale to raise money for Emergency and Georg Danzer Haus NGOs.
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“Green light is an act of welcoming, addressed both to those who have fled hardship and instability in their home countries and to the residents of the cities receiving them.” Says Olafur Eliasson to Archipanic. “The project shines a light on the value of collaborative work and thinking.”
Located in the heart of the Central Pavilion at Giardini, Green Light hosts also a rich program of practical training and education – daily language courses, job training, psychological counseling and legal advice, music and video workshops, artists’ interventions, educational seminars, and lectures.
“To me, going to the Biennale has always been about going deeper into reality, not about exiting reality. Mass displacement and migration are core challenges in the world today, affecting millions of people around the globe.” adds Elisasson.
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The numerous events explore a variety of perspectives on migration, citizenship, statelessness, arrival, memory, and belonging, eliciting exchanges of knowledge, experiences, and values. Forty individuals from a range of countries – including Nigeria, Gambia, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and China – have signed up as participants to date through nine local partnering NGOs, all based in the municipality of Venice.
The crystalline Green light lamp is a polyhedral unit fitted with a small green-tinted LED. Named Cubic Crystals and specially-designed by Olafur Eliasson the stackable lightings are made predominantly from recycled and sustainable materials. Each module can function either alone as single objects or be assembled into a variety of architectural and sculptural configurations that attest to the collective nature of their production.
The Green Light project is divided into three zones. A landscape of tables defines the space where the lamps are assembled; a semi-enclosed seating arrangement acts as an amphitheater, where lectures, classes, and seminars are held; and couches and chairs form a lounge, where participants can take a break or socialize.