climate change, contemporary art

Earth 350, Brighton

November 27, 2010

Today I found myself clapping and cheering for a piece of art although I have little idea what the work might look like and am not at all sure if it is any good.

Nevertheless, I was participating. 2,000 of us stood on the seafront in minus temperatures for an hour and a half. At 12:45 we pointed at the sea for much longer than was comfortable.

Then it was over. The unanimous cheering was completely spontaneous.

Also, we looked silly. Most of those helping create this living sculpture were decked out in hooded blue ponchos. Some even less fortunate were in yellow. Subjective, I know.

The plane was taking photos and it seems we were representing King Cnut. I made up part of the wrist of an arm raised in defiance of the sea. But the disappointing waters were like a millpond.

Thom Yorke from Radiohead and the band’s favourite artist Stanley Donwood had designed this artwork. And it is one of 22 similar worldwide stunts to express both concern and hope around the theme of climate change.

Hats off to the bloke nearby who brought an iPod and speaker dock on which he played the album Kid A in a gesture which seemed at once ironic and reverential. Becoming part of a Thom Yorke creation must be the ultimate experience for a Radiohead fan. (Me, I can take them or leave them.)

It is said the sculpture will have been visible from space, though I guess what it looks like is beside the point. The real beauty of it is that so many people have endured boredom and cold for the common good. I would cheer that, any day.

Read more about the project and check out some impressive photos of living sculptures from around the world on the Earth 350 website.

Oh, and it seems the photos from today’s event are already online. Check them out here.

3 Comments

  • Reply Leah November 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for the account 🙂

  • Reply martin December 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    The old ‘visible from space’ chestnut provokes me to add that of course absolutely everything on the earth can be seen from space given a large enough lens, big enough eyes or sensitive enough little green tentacles.

    Thank you for, quite sensibly, not mentioning the Great Wall of China – which is actually narrower than the road outside my house and probably equally visible from said ‘space’!

    Good for Thom, who is of course, a living god.

    • Reply Mark Sheerin December 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

      I hadn’t thought of that. Yes, it is a bit of a weird claim for a piece of eco art to make.

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