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Olafur Eliasson Partners With Museum, Refugees on Modular Light Art

'Green Light' will be on display at a Vienna museum until June 5

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is known for works of art that verge on the architectural: Works like his Your Atmospheric Colour, which filled a gallery in a museum with colored gas, or his New York City Waterfalls, wherein he installed massive—you guessed it—waterfalls at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, engage spatial issues as much as they do visual ones.

Now, hot on the heels of news of Eliasson's 65-foot-tall mirrored pyramid going up in Shanghai's Long Museum comes intel on the artist's latest work, Green Light. Completed in collaboration with Vienna's Thyseen-Bornesmisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), the project is meant to address the European Union's ongoing refugee crisis with a work that provides a metaphoric lighthouse—a literal green light—for migrants and those fleeing strife in their home countries.

The lights themselves look a bit like simplified K'nex, with angular ash-wood frames, recycled-plastic-twine and recycled-nylon ties and green LEDs. In workshops coordinated by TBA21, "refugees, migrants, and university students [took] part" in workshops to build the units on site out of simple materials, according to Eliasson's website.

Several "Green Lights" have been made available to the public for purchase in the TBA21 shop and proceeds from all sales are, Designboom reports, "going to initiatives helping refugees in Austria."

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 Vienna.

— Olafur Eliasson

An exhibition of the work will run until Sunday, June 5.