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.”
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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