Exhibition – GAIA
TOURING ARTWORK: GAIA BY LUKE JERRAM
Working internationally for the last 20 years, multidisciplinary British artist Luke Jerram has created a series of amazing art projects that have excited and inspired people all around the world.
One of them is GAIA, a traveling artwork that was displayed in various cities in different countries such as Belfast, Shanghai, London, Liverpool, Hong Kong, and Joondalup. In Greek Mythology, Gaia is the personification of the Earth.
Measuring seven meters in diameter and created from 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, the artwork offers us the chance to see our world cruising in three dimensions.
The installation aims to invoke the feeling of an ‘Overview Effect’, which was first described by the author Frank White in 1987, referring to common features of astronauts feelings towards the planet: A sense of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility. Gaia also acts as a mirror to significant events in society. With the current COVID-19 pandemic in mind, the viewer is offered a different perspective of our place on the planet and shown that all societies of the Earth are connected and carry responsibility toward one another.
Alongside the Gaia installation, a surround sound composition produced by BAFTA award-winner composer Dan Jones is played. The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the actual size of the Earth so that every centimeter of the sculpture represents 18 kilometers of the world. Also, when standing 211m away from the artwork, the viewer can observe the planet as seen from the moon.
Unlike the moon, which we have been gazing at from Earth for over a millennium, the first time humankind ever got to watch this blue marble swimming in space was with the NASA’s Apollo 18 mission back in 1968. As a result of the current pandemic, our entire understanding and perception of the planet have changed forever. Hanging in the black void of space the Earth seems isolated, a precious and fragile island of life. From afar, Earth is nothing more than a pale blue dot.
Gaia will continuously be presented in various ways both indoors and outdoors. Whether it is exhibited in a museum, at a science center, or a park, and depending on the country Gaia is presented in, the viewer’s experience and its interpretation may change.
If visitors coming to Gaia are be able to observe the planet as if they were seeing it from space and feel that our Earth is an incredible place of beauty and value, then the artwork will fulfill its purpose.
Gaia as a venue for events
Gaia also serves as a venue for local hosts to organize their own events beneath the installation. To this day, various events including orchestral and choral performances, lectures on space held by astronauts, environmental discussions with scientists, yoga classes, poetry readings, and religious ceremonies have taken place underneath Gaia.