Light Works Operation Life Nexus
Jorge Orta, 2003
- Ref: 00016
- Materials: PAE moving image projections, video, computerized lighting, pyrotechnic effects on Place Stanislas Nancy, to inaugurate the 14th World Transplant Games in France. Music composed by Pierre Henry
- Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta. Light Works, Black Dog Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-1-907317-04-0
- Concept: Jorge Orta began working with the symbol of the heart in 1996 for the simple reason that a dear friend died a senseless death on a waiting list for a heart transplant and this made the artists aware of the fact that there are thousands of deaths per year in France due to lack of organ donations – in a country that can afford solutions! The Ortas believe that the role of art in this sensitive subject area could be to generate workshops, actions and exhibitions that could awaken a consciousness. They embarked on fifteen years of research leading to the production of artefacts, installations and performances under the heading Opera-tion Life Nexus with the collaboration of over 40 cities around the world. The focus became the Heart, as a symbol of the gift of generosity, life and empathy. It allowed a open ended discussion on the meaning of heart - religious, emotional, scientific, literal - with a huge diversity of communities, culminating in the fabrication of three-dimensional models, poetry or even sound installations.
As their methods of communication proved successful over the years, they were contacted by national donor-transplant organisations to create the inaugural event for the 2003 14th World Transplant Games. As well as creating one of the most beautiful Light Works for the UNESCO heritage site of Place Stanislas, the artists embarked on the largest workshop, engaging over 35,000 high school students across the region in the creation of a charter for organ donation called The Gift. The charter can now be found enclosed in a gold plated heart on the tip of a public sculpture we created for the city of Nancy.
The results of an external audit on the effectiveness of their actions demonstrated an increase in the awareness of organ donation, so the powerful voice of the young people really did resonate not just locally but nationally and led to the issue being adopted as a public agenda item.