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Going global
Get an awe-inspiring astronaut’s view of the Earth at October’s Apex exhibition
Following the huge success of the Moon installation, which attracted over 15,000 people to The Apex last year, the Bury St Edmunds venue is now set to present the spectacular art installation ‘Gaia’, a 17-
metre replica of planet Earth, in October.
This is a massive coup for Bury and West Suffolk.
The installation has previously been displayed in Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan and at the Natural History Museum in London, but Bury St Edmunds will be the first in the eastern region to have the Earth on show. Gaia forms a major part of the towns Covid- 19 recovery programme and demonstrates how a concert hall can diversify its programme to present art during a time when it cannot stage live performances.
Created by UK artist, Luke Jerram, (the same artist who created the Moon installation) the seven metre diameter, rotating artwork will provide an immersive experience for visitors creating a sense of the ‘Overview Effect’ as experienced by astronauts. The sculpture’s name is derived from the Greek word Gaia meaning ‘earth’; in mythology Gaia is the personification of the earth.
Featuring detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface at 120dpi resolution, the internally lit artwork allows us to see our planet floating in three- dimensions. A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer, Dan Jones, will be played alongside the sculpture.
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.
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.
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 towards one
another. After the lockdown, there has been a renewed respect for nature.
Living in the UK but working internationally since 1997, Jerram’s multi- disciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. He has created a number of extraordinary art projects, which have excited and inspired people around the globe and is known worldwide for his large scale public artworks such as The Museum of the Moon. Luke said, “I hope visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. An ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home”.
n Gaia can be viewed at The Apex from 3 to 18 October between 10am and 4pm daily;
admission is by pre-booked tickets only. Although entry is free allowing access for all, as The Apex has not been in a position to present a live concert since March, a donation of £3 per person is being recommended. There is an option to make a larger donation to support The Apex, or donations can be waived and Gaia experienced for free.
Left: Gaia at Salisbury Cathedral and right, an indication of the installation’s scale
Image: NERC

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