Your multiple shadow house, MAC, Montreal, 2017
Excerpt from The Art Newspaper editor, Javier Pez's article on Green Light
Called Green light, the project was launched by Studio Olafur Eliasson and partners in Vienna last year. Venice is the art workshop’s most high-profile venue so far.
For some the context is very wrong. “I felt sickened by this human zoo,” wrote Jackie Wullschläger, the art critic of the Financial Times. Cristina Ruiz, a former editor of The Art Newspaper and another Venice Biennale veteran, was also unimpressed: “Let people interested in the project seek it out. Let the others gawp at something else. This is not art in service of migrants but migrants in service of a curatorial vision.”
. . .
But Green light feels different. It would have been diminished if it was a sideshow at the Biennale: art and activism as an add-on. It feels like a project designed and evolving to meet migrants’ real needs and encourage conversations. You need only speak to the migrants themselves to hear their thoughts and life stories (and critics of the project have so far failed to include the participant’s voices in their critiques).
One participant, Tahajud Alghrabi, a teacher from Baghdad who joined the project in Vienna, is now helping other refugees in Venice. During the preview week one young man from Nigeria, Jerry Angel, said frankly that if he wasn’t taking part in Green light he would probably be hanging out at a railway station drinking or possibly selling drugs.
Read full article on The Art Newspaper
Maison des ombres multiples (multiple shadow house) - solo exhibition at MAC in Montreal opens today
The Green light project began at a specific moment in time, in 2015, when refugees were arriving in Europe by the hundreds of thousands, fleeing hardship, political and economic instability, and war in their home countries. Although these problems had begun years before, many – myself included – often felt emotionally disconnected from the reality of what we read or saw on the news. Art and culture, I believe, can have a pertinent role to play in responding to such events: as a start, it can reverse our emotional disconnect and, whether directly or indirectly, inspire us to take action.
But how does one proceed from the assembly of a light module to social change? The journey might seem long and convoluted, yet a simple but crucial first step is to trust the potential in the non-spectacular situation of sitting down together and doing something basic with our hands – in this case, working on a lamp that is more easily assembled by two pairs of hands than one. Add to that a multifaceted program of shared learning, with practical workshops, counseling, language classes, cooking, sports and cultural events, and knowledge exchange. What emerges during these activities is a shared social space. And once the initial nervousness has evaporated, moments of relaxed enjoyment unfold, pieces of personal history are exchanged. This elicits a feeling of interconnectedness that is incredibly strong.
I believe that allowing ourselves to be open to this feeling is key to intensifying our engagement in society and to participating actively in coming up with solutions in times where forced migration affects us all.
I undertook the Green light project with TBA21 with the hope of developing a scalable model that would work in an art context, but could reach beyond it and also be implemented in a school, a public library, or a political institute. . . . While the Green light community expands, I hope that cities, national governments, and policy-makers also begin to see the potential of creative approaches to welcoming refugees, addressing concerns among their populations, and devising collective solutions. Populations around the world will become increasingly multi-ethnic and multicultural and it is clear that the near and distant future will continue to be shaped by migration. We therefore need solutions, now and into the future, at all levels of society.
Excerpts from ‘Assembling a Light, Assembling Communities’, Green Light – An Artistic Workshop, published by TBA21 and Sternberg Press
Green light participant Akim, Biennale Arte 2017
We are very proud to present our new book: Open House - a publication that looks at artistic processes within the studio and the studio's exchanges with the broader world
Get your copy here: www.buchhandlung-walther-koenig.de/
Welcome! Arriving at an open house is usually an informal affair. The hosts might come to the door to greet you – or they might not. Clusters of guests form spontaneously, grow, dissipate. People wander about, check out books, or pick up an object lying around. You can hang out for hours or merely put in an appearance. There’s no schedule and, potentially, a good amount of unruly, social interaction.
And there’s a setting, a space that has been awaiting your arrival, awaiting you and imagining your presence, a space tuned to the act of welcoming – like this one here, in your hands. This book invites you into my studio in Berlin. For this book-as-openhouse, my studio team and I have left some of our favourite items lying about – experimental setups, sketches, models, some artworks. You will find fragments of conversations, stray quotes for inspiration, and ideas floating about, which give a glimpse into the daily concerns and exchanges among team members and with visitors.
Open house presents an opportunity to meet some of the approximately ninety people working at the studio. They come from diverse backgrounds and are engaged in a range of activities: some in woodworking and metalwork or on the glass team; some in charge of Exhibitions and Production or Design and Development;
others work on Research and Policy or with Media and Transmissions, while still others are involved in planning, logistics, or accounting. Finally, of course there is the kitchen team, which provides warm lunches four days a week for the entire studio. Olafur Eliasson, excerpt from foreword to Open House
Studio Olafur Eliasson – Open House is the seventh volume in the studio’s TYT [Take Your Time] series. The book includes conversations with members of the studio team, texts by new and long-term friends and affiliates of the studio – including neuroscientists, economists, social scientists, curators, playwrights, philosophers, psychologists, and climate scientists – and excerpts from texts and books that inspire the studio’s current research.
Get your copy here: www.buchhandlung-walther-koenig.de/
In depth perspectives on the Green light project, produced by TBA21 and published by Sternberg Press with contributions by Atif Akin, Anas Aljajeh, Tarek Atoui, Tawab Baran, Ian Cion, Angela Dimitrakaki, Olafur Eliasson, Paul Feigelfeld, Francesca von Habsburg, Timothy Morton, Sandra Noeth, Ahmet Ögüt, Boris Ondreička, Johannes Porsch, Clemens Rettenbacher, Andreas Roepstorff, David Rych, Rasha Salti, Georg Schöllhammer, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Anahita Tabrizi, Alison Weaver, Franziska Sophie Wildförster, Nira Yuval-Davis, Daniela Zyman, and Green light participants