Gaia is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram.
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.
The installation creates 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.
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.
Over its lifetime, Gaia will be presented in a number of different ways both indoors and outdoors. Whether it is presented in a museum, science centre or parkland, 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. These might include: space or environmentally themed science events; music or performance arts events etc.
Unlike the moon, which we have been gazing at for millennia, the first time humankind got to see the Earth in its entirety as a blue marble floating in space was in 1972 with NASA’s Apollo 17 mission. At this moment, our perception and understanding of our planet changed forever. Hanging in the black emptiness of space the Earth seems isolated, a precious and fragile island of life. From a distance, the Earth is just a pale blue dot.
Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. Living in the UK but working internationally for 20 years, Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects which have excited and inspired people around the globe. Find out more via his main website.
*The imagery for the artwork has been compiled from Visible Earth series, NASA.