olafur eliasson brings his green light workshop to the venice art biennale 2017. first presented at TBA21 in vienna last year, the artistic workshop responds to challenges arising from mass displacement and migration, shinning a light for asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants. participants are taught to fabricate green light lamps designed by eliasson, and take part in a wider educational program of creativity and shared learning.

 

inside the green light workshop at the venice art biennale 2017

 

 

now in venice, eighty participants from a wide range of countries — including nigeria, gambia, syria, iraq, somalia, afghanistan, and china — are taking part in the green light workshop, working alongside the public to form and fabricate green light lamps. 

green light venice art biennale
for its sixth iteration, the green light workshop is presented at the venice art biennale
image by damir zizic, courtesy of the artist and thyssen-bornemisza art contemporary © olafur eliasson 

 

 

each of the green light modules is made from recycled, sustainable materials — wood (european ash), recycled yogurt cups, used plastic bags, recycled nylon, and green LEDs. they are designed to be stackable, functioning either on their own or combined to create more complex structures. the green light module is a unique form, based on the cube and the golden triangle. it was invented by long time friend and collaborator einar thorsteinn as part of the numerous geometric studies they undertook at the studio.

green light venice art biennale
the artistic workshop responds to the challenges arising from mass displacement and migration
image by damir zizic, courtesy of the artist and thyssen-bornemisza art contemporary © olafur eliasson 

 

 

at the heart of eliasson’s green light workshop — initiated in collaboration with thyssen-bornemisza art contemporary — is a fundraising campaign benefiting two NGOs that work with refugees: emergency and georg danzer haus. for a contribution of at least 250 euros, donors receive a lamp built during the workshop, which you can purchase online here

green light venice art biennale
participants are taught to fabricate green light lamps designed by eliasson
image by damir zizic, courtesy of the artist and thyssen-bornemisza art contemporary © olafur eliasson 

 

 

‘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,’ eliasson says. ‘I am very pleased to be able to present the project at the biennale arte 2017. 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. green light displays a modest strategy for addressing the challenges and responsibilities arising from the current situation and shines a light on the value of collaborative work and thinking.’

green light venice art biennale
each of the modules is made from recycled, sustainable materials
image by damir zizic, courtesy of the artist and thyssen-bornemisza art contemporary © olafur eliasson 

 

 

green light is taking place as part of the exhibition viva arte viva located in the central pavilion at the venice art biennale. the platform in venice includes vocational and practical learning, such including job training, language courses, and psychological and legal counseling. the workshop is divided into three zones: a landscape of tables defines the production space, where the lamps are assembled; a semi-enclosed seating arrangements acts an amphitheater where lectures, classes, and seminars are held; and couches and chairs form a lounge, where participants can take a break or socialize.


as part of the workshop, participants take part in a wider educational program of creativity and shared learning
image by damir zizic, courtesy of the artist and thyssen-bornemisza art contemporary © olafur eliasson 

 

 

since the nineties, eliasson has brought art, architecture, science, and design into dialogue with one another. his works explore the processes of individual and collective perception, triggering questions about our experience of self, and our social and natural surroundings. eliasson’s studio in berlin plays an important role in this practice, with a team that includes craftsman, specialized technicians, architects, archivists, art historians, web designers, film-makers, cooks, and administrators. eliasson and the studio also work with structural engineers, city planners, and landscape architects on larger projects, and the artist has cooperated worldwide with cultural practitioners, policymakers, and scientists.

green light venice art biennale
the modules are designed to be stackable and configurable  
image © designboom

 

 

follow our dedicated instagram account @venice.art.biennale for live coverage of the exhibitions, installations, and events in venice.

green light venice art biennale
the lamps can function on their own, or be combined to create more complex structures
image © designboom


for a contribution of at least 250 euros, donors receive a lamp built during the workshop 
image © designboom

 

 

instructional video demonstrating how to assemble a green light lamp 


each green light lamp comprises a wooden frame made from european ash
photo by maría del pilar garcía ayensa / studio olafur eliasson


green light is taking place as part of the exhibition viva arte viva located in the central pavilion
image © designboom


eighty participants from a wide range of countries are taking part in the workshop
image © designboom


finished green light lamps fabricated by participants and the public 
image © designboom


the project shines a ‘green light’ for asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants
image © designboom


in venice, the exhibition includes a program of lectures, talks, and seminars
image © designboom


green light lamps are configured as a hanging chandelier
image © designboom


process, prototypes and models from the studio 
image © designboom


initial representations of the green light  
image © designboom


multiple geometries were explored in the making-process
image © designboom


green color experimentation 
image © designboom


join the green light workshop in venice!
image © designboom

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