As Olafur Eliasson once said about his practice, “It is not just about decorating the world… but about taking responsibility”. Olafur Eliasson Green Light project is yet another one that is based on his belief that arts can create a space sensitive to both individual and a collective, testifying to the agency of contemporary art and its potential to initiate processes of civic transformation. Initiated by the artist in collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), the project addresses the current geopolitical issues surrounding global migration. Inviting asylum seekers, refugees, and economic migrants to participate in a multi-faceted program of creativity and shared learning, it shows them a metaphorical green light. After being presented at TBA21 in spring 2016, the workshop will move into Moody Center for the Art in 2017.
An Inclusive Educational and Creative Program
The Moody Center is a new, state-of-the-art, 5,000-square-meter facility dedicated to cross-disciplinary collaboration between the arts, sciences, and humanities, created to push the boundaries of interdisciplinary exploration. As an educational and creative center that partners with Interfaith Ministries, one of six resettlement services in Houston serving migrants, the center is especially suited to start a public dialogue on the subject this workshop is concerned with. As part of their inaugural program, Moody will investigate the diverse range of perspectives on migration, citizenship, statelessness, arrival, memory, and belonging, as well as offering a workshop for the construction of Green Light lamps, language courses, seminars, artist’s interventions, film screenings, and many other resources for migrants.
This inspiring project responds to a situation of great uncertainty, both for refugees and societies that welcome them, by creating a dynamic space for various forms of participation and engagement. Working together in a playful process, participants not only build these lights, but also create a communal spirit. Designed by Eliasson and co-produced by TBA21, the crystalline Green Light lamps are polyhedral units fitted with small, green-tinted light fixtures. They have been assembled from recycled and sustainable materials provided on-site. Designed to be stackable, these modules can function on their own, or be combined in a variety of complex structures. As Eliasson poetically stated, “I hope Green light shines light on some of the challenges and responsibilities arising from the current refugee plight in Europe and throughout the world.”
Olafur Eliasson, Green Light Workshop
Olafur Eliasson Green Light Workshop
The first Green Light workshop was hosted by TBA21 in Vienna between March 12th and July 29th, 2016. The forthcoming workshop will be hosted by Moody Center for the Arts in Houston from February 24th until May, 2017. The Green Lamp can be purchased directly at TBA21, through selected partners, or on the TBA21 web shop. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to partnering NGO organizations that assist refugees and migrants. The lamps will also be available for purchase from the Moody Center for the Arts in the spring.