Earth Day

Olafur Eliasson wants us to see the world differently through his new Instagram animations

The Danish-Icelandic artist is releasing the participatory social media project in celebration of Earth Day

Six stills from the nine different animated views of the Earth in Olafur Eliasson's new project Earth Perspectives (2020), which the artist is releasing on Instagram to celebrate Earth Day Courtesy of the artist and the Serpentine Galleries

The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has launched a participatory social media project which turns planet Earth on its head in celebration of Earth Day. Earth Perspectives (2020) consists of nine animations depicting nine different views of the Earth, which will be posted on Instagram every hour from 10am BST. “You’re free to spread it, download it and share it around because it is an exciting experiment to imagine and project your own earth in front of you,” the artist says on Instagram.

The works give a different take on the planet which is tilted on a different axis every time. The first lurid Instagram picture hones in on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Other posts will show the Earth viewed over the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the Ganges River in India and the South Pole.

“Each image 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,” says a studio statement.

Crucially, the artist says, people should reflect on the future of the planet in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The current health crisis has brought our societies close to a halt,” says Eliasson in a statement, adding online: “Essentially the imaginary future, the well-being of our planet and how you’re going to live for the planet in the future is obviously something that is incredibly important.”

Eliasson’s initiative is part of the Serpentine Galleries’ 50th anniversary Back to Earth initiative, whereby artists, musicians, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, thinkers and designers have been invited to propose works and projects that call for action in response to the climate emergency.