Gaia is a spectacular model of our planet – and it’ll be free to visit!
Only astronauts can know the indescribable feeling of being able to see the Earth in its entirety, but Londoners are about to get something approaching the same experience. That’s because artist Luke Jerram is bringing a huge, illuminated 3D model of our planet to Greenwich’s mesmerising Painted Hall from August 28, as part of the annual Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. Aside from being highly ‘grammable, the model – named Gaia – also likely to give you a newfound appreciation for our incredible world.
Suppose this whole scenario feels oddly familiar to you. In that case, that’d be because it’s the same artist, and indeed the same festival, that brought a beautiful model of the Moon to the Royal Observatory a few years ago – and you might also have spotted that same Moon hanging out at the Natural History Museum recently, too. Jerram’s 3D model uses detailed NASA imagery of the planet’s surface to give the impression of the globe floating in space, to represent the fragility and interconnections between all life on Earth. It takes inspiration from both scientific discoveries, and mythological representations of the planet, and will be soundtracked by a moody score from composer Dan Jones.
Such an exhibit is likely to leave you spellbound, and that’s before we even mention the location. The Painted Hall – with floor-to-ceiling Baroque murals – is an unforgettable place in its own right, so sticking a giant Earth in it isn’t something you’re likely to forget in a hurry. Best of all, you’ll be able to catch Gaia for free if you head along in the evenings. Tickets between 6-10 pm will get you free entry to the exhibit, and by extension the Painted Hall – they’re on sale from 10 am on August 24, and you can find them here.
It’s just one part of the Greenwich+Docklands Festival, which is making a little bit of history as the first full festival to take place in the UK since the lockdown began. A comprehensive programme of outdoor theatre and performing arts, plus site-specific installations such as Gaia, is available for free in the coming weeks, so it’s worth checking out. If you can tear yourself away from the enchanting floating globe, of course…