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Awe-inspiring artwork of planet Earth goes on show in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 07:30 04 October 2020

Chris Jones with Arthur visiting Gaia, an amazing 7m diameter earth artwork on show at Bury St Edmunds after being on tour all over the world Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Chris Jones with Arthur visiting Gaia, an amazing 7m diameter earth artwork on show at Bury St Edmunds after being on tour all over the world Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

It’s the view seen by astronauts from spacecraft – and one which often kindles a deep sense of awe and responsibility for planet Earth.

Artwork Gaia allows people to experience the sensations felt by astronauts on seeing the earth from space Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDArtwork Gaia allows people to experience the sensations felt by astronauts on seeing the earth from space Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Hanging in the black emptiness of space the Earth seems isolated, a precious and fragile island of life.

Now visitors to The Apex in Bury St Edmunds can experience that wonder for themselves with the chance to see a huge stunning spherical sculpture of the planet at a special event.

Created by UK artist, Luke Jerram, the amazing artwork called Gaia, a seven-metre diameter rotating piece, aims to give people an experience of the ‘Overview Effect’ experienced by astronauts.

Featuring detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface at 120dpi resolution, the internally lit artwork allows people to see the planet floating in three-dimensions.

Elystan, Bertie and Oscar with their mum and dad enjoying the brilliant Gaia exhibition at The Apex Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDElystan, Bertie and Oscar with their mum and dad enjoying the brilliant Gaia exhibition at The Apex Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

A specially created surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer, Dan Jones, is played alongside the sculpture.

The ‘Overview Effect’ 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.

Gaia is 1.8 million times smaller than the real Earth with each centimetre describing 18km sq of the Earth’s surface.

Artist Luke Jerram 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.”

Claire Newport and Chris Jones with Arthur capturing Gaia on camera at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDClaire Newport and Chris Jones with Arthur capturing Gaia on camera at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Jerram’s multi-disciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. He is known worldwide for his large scale public artworks such as The Museum of the Moon, which was installed at The Apex last year, attracting some 15,000 visitors in the first week.

Gaia is a major part of The Apex’s Covid-19 recovery programme and demonstrates how a concert hall is diversifying to present art during a time where it cannot stage a live performance.

The artwork is on display at the venue – the first time it has been displayed in East Anglia – until October 18.

It can be viewed between 10am and 4pm daily. Although entry is free, as the venue has not been in a position to present a live concert since March, a donation of £3 per person is being recommended.

Luke Jerram's Gaia rotates to music during the exhibition Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDLuke Jerram's Gaia rotates to music during the exhibition Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

To ensure social distancing, a limited number of people will be allowed to enter the auditorium at any given point and time slots are limited to 25 minutes. Visitors are required to wear their own facemask in the auditorium and hand sanitiser stations are available.

Pre-booking is essential via www.theapex.co.uk, by calling 01284 758000 or in person at The Apex.


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