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The model, in the images below, is a proposal for refuge, in the form of a new pavilion in Rejmyre, to be placed in the wetlands, where the contaminated water from the waste site behind the glass factory runs towards lake Hunn. This work is an extension of our Performing Labour research strand that extends into our current work on Detox/Clean it up!

In A Refuge in Remjyre, U.S./Swedish artist Daniel Peltz, working together with the Danish architect Kristoffer Tejlgaard, presents an architectural proposal for a refuge for unemployed logging elephants from the teak forests of Myanmar, to be built by, for and in Rejmyre.

The pavilion attempts to address multiple challenges in the process of cleaning up the waste site: to transform some of the waste into usable building materials, to filter and purify the water as it passes through the waste site, and most importantly, to consider the complex act of giving and taking refuge.

Myanmar’s teak logging elephants no longer have jobs in the over-forested teak industry. Some end up in refuges, but most of them are sold to the tourist industry where they live only half as long as they did when they worked in the forest. The model for the refuge designed by Tejlgaard takes into account what the elephants would need in terms of space, light, climate and water access, creating a light filled micro-climate here in Rejmyre. The structure is designed so that it can be built by members of the community, using recyclable and local materials, partially from the waste site.

Fundamental to Peltz’ conception of the project is the that the physical act of building, the community physically coming together to consider the needs of this distant other [the unemployed elephants in Myanmar] and build a refuge for them, is a way of developing our capacity to give and take refuge, a capacity so important that it merits a monumental pavillion. We often think of a refuge as a place, a building, and refugees as people but Peltz challenges us to think of refuge as a thing that we all do and can [perhaps, even must] develop our capacities to do better. Part of Peltz’ proposition is that Rejmyre is a valuable place, a place worthy of investment in, as a site to consider contemporary complexities.

Daniel Peltz’ work in Rejmyre spans over a decade and attempts to grapple with the local and global complexities of rural factory towns, the repurposing of rural communities as temporary refuges for newly arrived peoples and a future in which many more of us will occupy this category of refugee. Peltz is a resident of Kalbo, Rejmyre and the research leader of Rejmyre Art Lab. He has been making projects in Rejmyre since 2007, when he first arrived to Sweden.

Kristoffer Tejlgaard has been to Rejmyre for several research visits since 2016, spending time investigating the landscape around the contaminated area. One of Tejlgaard’s best know projects is the “Dome of Visions” that was placed at KTH in Stockholm and in Copenhagen btw 2016-2017.

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