Olafur Eliasson created new participatory artworks for Earth Day.

Daria Simone Harper
Apr 22, 2020 3:40PM, via The Guardian

Olafur Eliasson, The Earth viewed over the Greenland ice sheet, 2020. Courtesy the artist.

Artist Olafur Eliasson has debuted a new participatory artwork in celebration of Earth Day, which is marking its 50th anniversary today. The piece was commissioned by London’s Serpentine Galleries as part of their “Back to Earth” program. Eliasson created nine images of a stylized Earth with a dot in the center of the sphere. Viewers are instructed to stare at the dot for 10 seconds and then focus their gaze on a blank surface where an afterimage will appear. This action symbolizes the viewer projecting a new world. The series of images, titled “Earth Perspectives,” launched today on social media, one by one in hourly intervals.

Eliasson said in a statement:

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 empathize 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.

The “Earth Perspectives” images invite people around the world to think about the state of the Earth and envision a better future. Eliasson has long been one of the most visible and outspoken artists making work about the environment. Last year he was named a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador by its Development Program.

Further Reading: These 10 Artists Are Making Urgent Work about the Environment

Daria Simone Harper
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019