Olafur Eliasson’s Earth Perspectives

For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the artist offers a participatory artwork for creating a new world view.
Olafur Eliasson Apr 22, 2020

Today we’re supporting the launch of Earth perspectives, a new artwork conceived by Olafur Eliasson for Earth Day 2020 and Serpentine Galleries. Nine images feature nine different views of the Earth. The work explores how maps, space, and the Earth itself are all, to a certain extent, constructions, which we have the power to see from other perspectives, whether individually or collectively.

To create a new world view:

  1. Stare at the dot on the Earth for about 10 seconds.
  2. Then train your focus onto a blank surface.
  3. An afterimage appears in the complementary colors of Eliasson’s visual.
  4. You have projected a new world view.
The Earth viewed over the Great Barrier Reef, Australia​
The world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms, now dying due to human activity and mass coral bleaching

The Earth viewed over the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms, now dying due to human activity and mass coral bleaching

The Earth viewed over the Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean
The deepest trench on Earth, reaching almost 11,000 meters below sea level. Despite its extremity, both living organisms and human-made plastics have been found at its bottom.

The Earth viewed over the Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean
The deepest trench on Earth, reaching almost 11,000 meters below sea level. Despite its extremity, both living organisms and human-made plastics have been found at its bottom.

The Earth viewed over Yakutia, in Siberia, Russia​
Rising temperatures are thawing permafrost in this remote region, deforming landscapes, releasing large quantities of methane, and disrupting animal migration patterns.

The Earth viewed over Yakutia, in Siberia, Russia
Rising temperatures are thawing permafrost in this remote region, deforming landscapes, releasing large quantities of methane, and disrupting animal migration patterns.

The Earth viewed over the Ganges River, India​
A sacred waterway granted the same legal rights as a human being by an Indian court in 2017

The Earth viewed over the Ganges River, India​
A sacred waterway granted the same legal rights as a human being by an Indian court in 2017

The Earth viewed over the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia​
One of the rare places in Africa where snow falls regularly, this range is part of the Ethiopian Highlands, known as the “Roof of Africa.”

The Earth viewed over the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
One of the rare places in Africa where snow falls regularly, this range is part of the Ethiopian Highlands, known as the “Roof of Africa.”

The Earth viewed over Chernobyl, in Pripyat, Ukraine​
The site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, where rare and endangered species now thrive in the absence of humans

The Earth viewed over Chernobyl, in Pripyat, Ukraine
The site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, where rare and endangered species now thrive in the absence of humans

The Earth viewed over the Greenland ice sheet
A continent-wide ice sheet produced by falling snow over millions of years, now melting at staggering rates due to human-induced climate change

The Earth viewed over the Greenland ice sheet
A continent-wide ice sheet produced by falling snow over millions of years, now melting at staggering rates due to human-induced climate change

The Earth viewed over Ecuador​
The first country in the world to recognize Rights of Nature in its constitution, ratified in 2008. Nature has the “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.”

The Earth viewed over Ecuador
The first country in the world to recognize Rights of Nature in its constitution, ratified in 2008. Nature has the “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.”

The Earth viewed over the South Pole​
The pole is at the heart of the virtually uninhabited continent of Antarctica, a vital ice-covered wildlife haven that is under threat from rapid warming and ice loss.

The Earth viewed over the South Pole​
The pole is at the heart of the virtually uninhabited continent of Antarctica, a vital ice-covered wildlife haven that is under threat from rapid warming and ice loss.

We’re sharing this work as part of the Serpentine Galleries’ Back to Earth initiative—a new multiyear project that invites artists, scientists, architects, musicians, and more to make work that responds to the climate emergency—and as part of our ongoing Artist Project series during MoMA’s closure.