Olafur Eliasson Earth perspectives: “Back to Earth” Serpentine Galleries, London

April 22, 2020


Earth perspectives, a new participatory artwork by Olafur Eliasson, has been launched on Earth Day on Wednesday 22 April 2020 as part of Back to Earth¹. Olafur Eliasson’s new work, Earth perspectives encapsulates how maps, space, and the earth itself are human constructs, which we have the power to see from other perspectives, whether individually or collectively. Eliasson has created a series of nine images of the Earth, each of which has been abstracted by turning the planet on a different axis. Each image also denotes a particular spot on Earth with a “dot”. If a viewer stares at the dot for about ten seconds and then trains their focus onto a blank surface, an afterimage appears in the complementary colours of Eliasson’s visual – the viewer literally projects a new world view.

Olafur Eliasson said: “Today, ‘the world as we know it’ is a phrase of the past. The current health crisis has brought our societies close to a halt, affecting our economies, our freedoms and even our social ties. We must take the time to empathise with all those struck by the crisis and also seize this opportunity to imagine together the earth that we want to inhabit in the future – in all its wonders and beauty, in the face of all the challenges ahead of us. Earth perspectives envisions the earth we want to live on together by welcoming multiple perspectives – not only human perspectives but also those of plants, animals, and nature. A glacier’s perspective deviates from that of a human. The same goes for a river. On Earth Day, I want to advocate – as on any other day – that we recognise these various perspectives and, together, celebrate their co-existence.”

Olafur Eliasson originally conceived one Earth perspective map for the magazine Real Review.

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