Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface*. The artwork provides the opportunity to see our planet on this scale, floating in three-dimensions
“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 sixth 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.
Luke Jerram, Artist
The installation aims to create a sense of the Overview Effect, which was first described by author Frank White in 1987. Common features of the experience for astronauts are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment. Watch this great film about the phenomenon below.
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. After the lockdown, there has been a renewed respect for nature.
When presented indoors, the Earth artwork slowly revolves. A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning Composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture. In Greek Mythology Gaia is the personification of the Earth.
The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the real Earth with each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the Earth’s surface. By standing 211m away from the artwork, the public will be able to see the Earth as it appears from the moon.
Southwark Cathedral would like to thank the Friends of Southwark Cathedral, the Diocese of Southwark, and The Christian Arts Trust for their support with this installation.
Photo courtesy of Phil Longfoot.
*The imagery for the artwork has been compiled from Visible Earth series, NASA.