This is Planet Earth…
Expect to gaze in awe and wonder at the ‘blue marble’ we call home this October when St Peter Mancroft medieval church in Norwich city centre hosts Gaia, an amazing model of Planet Earth. This touring art installation, an enormous globe over 6 metres in diameter, and created from 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, will dominate the church interior and be clearly visible from the city centre. The intention is to focus attention on the global climate emergency.
Designed by Luke Jerram, Gaia allows us to see our planet, floating in three dimensions. We can share the experience of astronauts in a feeling of awe for our planet home. This viewpoint provides a new appreciation of the inter-dependence of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the natural environment.
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.
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.
A specially made surround-sound composition by BAFTA award winning Composer Dan Jones will played alongside the rotating sculpture.
The Gaia model has already been displayed in the UK and around the world, including at Liverpool Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, the Natural History Museum, Hong Kong and Taipei.
In the lead-up to COP 26, the hosting of Gaia will enable the church and the city to explore the wide-ranging implications of the climate crisis.
Throughout the month of October, school visits will engage young people in a wide range of educational activities and competitions addressing the climate crisis and its impact on the environment. Evening lectures, artistic, musical and cultural events will explore the similar themes from a range of scientific and societal perspectives.
The wide-ranging programme will involve working in partnership with the Norwich Science Festival and with many other local organisations. It will provide opportunities for people of all faiths, and none, to learn more about the science of climate change and to examine its implications within a theological and social framework.
Tower Tours up into the ‘Infinity Ringing Chamber’ will also give people a new perspective of our planet from above.
More information and details on all the events taking place can be found at www.stpetermancroft.org.uk/Gaia