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Climate crisis warnings—including from Greta Thunberg—beamed onto Tate Modern's tower by artist Jenny Holzer

The travelling installation will head to Scotland for Cop26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, which starts this weekend

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Jenny Holzer's Hurt Earth at Tate Modern, London © 2021 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY DACS, UK Photo Adam Kenrick

Jenny Holzer's Hurt Earth at Tate Modern, London © 2021 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY DACS, UK Photo Adam Kenrick

The US artist Jenny Holzer will project the words of activist Greta Thunberg onto the facade of the Tate Modern in London this weekend to highlight the climate crisis. The work takes place as politicians and environmental experts from around the world descend on Glasgow for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, Cop26 (31 October-12 November).

Excerpts of writing, testimonies, speeches and interviews from more than 40 climate leaders and activists from around the world calling for collective action to address the climate crisis will be shown on the museum’s chimney for the work Hurt Earth. The work will be shown from 29 to 31 October, running from dusk until 10pm each evening.

A spokeswoman for Holzer’s studio says: “It is a series of light projections. The ‘voices’ featured in the work will be represented as scrolling text projected onto the facades of UK landmarks, starting at the Tate Modern.” These include Thunberg whose text reads: “If we choose to act together, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.” 

Another quote comes from the US author Robin Wall Kimmerer who says: “Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair.” Asked if she feels it is important to contribute to the debate regarding environmental concerns during Cop26, Holzer tellsThe Art Newspaper: “Yes, seems worth a try.”

The piece will also be projected on the SEC Armadillo auditorium in the official Blue Zone of COP26 in Glasgow on 8 November, the Met Tower in Glasgow from 9 to 11 November, and at a series of pop-up locations in Edinburgh from 12 to 14 November. A text from the naturalist David Attenborough will be shown on the iteration in the SEC Armadillo auditorium.

Hurt Earth is presented by the WWF initiative Art For Your World and co-curated by the London-based organisation Artwise Curators and Shore Art Advisory in Washington, DC.

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