“Gaia” is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface the artwork provides the opportunity to see our planet, floating in three dimensions. The artwork also acts as a mirror to major events in society. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the artwork may provide the viewer with a new perspective of our place on the planet; a sense that societies of the Earth are all interconnected and that we have a responsibility toward one another.
What was your inspiration when you were designing “Gaia”?
The artwork was made as a sister sculpture, to compare with the Museum of the Moon, which to date has been seen by over 3 million members of the public in more than 25 countries worldwide. For our entire human existence we have been gazing up at the moon and projecting all our hopes, dreams and wishes up there. Whereas for the Earth, it was only in 1968 through NASA’s Earthrise photo, that humanity was able to see our planet for the first time, as a blue marble of life, floating in blackness of space.
Why did you choose the world as an image? What message do you want to give to the public?
The Gaia Earth artwork was made to communicate a sense of the fragility of our planet. Halfway through the Earth’s six mass extinction, we urgently need to wake up, and change our behaviour. Society needs to quickly make the changes necessary to prevent run away Climate Change.
What difference do you see about “Gaia” on different venues?
I enjoy presenting artwork in public spaces, as I know the audience will be broad and diverse and the exhibition will be open to everyone. I like the fact that whether Gaia is presented in an art museum, science centre, park or cathedral, the experience and interpretation of the artwork will change.Gaia also acts as a venue, with local hosts creating their own programme of events to take place beneath the artwork.
What was the perception you expect from your visitors, and did you get the perception you expect as feedback?
I wanted to make the artwork seem as authentic and realistic as possible to give the public the opportunity to see how our planet looks from space. For most people, this will be their most intimate, personal and closest encounter they will ever have with the whole of our planet. I hope visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. An ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home. Halfway through the Earth’s six mass extinction, we urgently need to wake up, and change our behaviour. We need to quickly make the changes necessary, to prevent run away Climate Change.. There really is no Planet B!
Interview: Gözde Akkoyun