Gaia, an artwork by Luke Jerram, to be shown at Peterborough Cathedral in August

Thursday 6 June

From Monday 19 August to Sunday 15 September 2019 Gaia, a touring artwork by Luke Jerram, will hang under the central tower inside the Cathedral.

It was announced today (Thursday 6th June 2019) that Gaia, a touring artwork by Luke Jerram, is to be displayed in the Cathedral from Monday 19th August until Sunday 15th September 2019. The same artist created the Museum of the Moon, which was shown at the Cathedral in October last year, attracting an estimated 40,000 visitors.

Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the earth’s surface*. The artwork provides the opportunity to see our planet on this scale, floating in three-dimensions.

The installation, which will hang under the central tower of the Cathedral, creates a sense of the Overview Effect, which 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.

The 3D installation will rotate once every four minutes, 360 times faster than our real planet. During evening opening times a specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer Dan Jones will be played, and the lighting of the piece shown to full advantage as dusk falls.

The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the real earth with each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the earth’s surface. By standing 211m away from the artwork, the public will be able to see the Earth as it appears from the moon.

Luke Jerram said:

“I was amazed and delighted that so many people came to see Gaia’s sister artwork Museum of the Moon when it was in Peterborough last year. This time visitors will be able 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.

Halfway through the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, we urgently need to wake up, and change our behaviour. We need to quickly make the changes necessary, to prevent run away Climate Change. There really is no Planet B!”

The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, said:

“We are very excited to be able to exhibit this extraordinary work. The Museum of the Moon was a compelling installation and having this beautiful representation of our precious planet in Peterborough Cathedral promises to be an unforgettable experience. The planned programme of events alongside the exhibition will offer opportunities both for fun and for learning not least about the critical environmental issues we face.”

A programme of themed events will take place whilst Gaia is on display at the Cathedral, including activities for schools when they return from holidays in September. Details will be announced soon.

Gaia will be open to the public free of charge during normal Cathedral visiting times. A series of special evening openings will show the artwork in its full glory with the accompanying soundtrack. The evening entry charge is £2 per person or £6 for a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children). Booking opens online soon. 

Full details of the events programme, opening times and to book evening tickets will be published soon at www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/gaia.

Gaia has been created in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Bluedot and the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. Its showing at Peterborough Cathedral has been supported by the Peterborough Cathedral Development and Preservation Trust.

For more information about the artwork, please visit http://my-earth.org/ and on social media #EarthArtwork

* The imagery for the artwork has been compiled from Visible Earth series, NASA.


About Gaia

In Greek Mythology Gaia is the personification of the Earth.

Unlike the moon, which we have been gazing at for millennia, the first time humankind got to see the Earth in its entirety as a blue marble floating in space was in 1972 with NASA’s Apollo 17 mission. At this moment, our perception and understanding of our planet changed forever. Hanging in the black emptiness of space the Earth seems isolated, a precious and fragile island of life. From a distance, the Earth is just a pale blue dot.

The Gaia artwork is touring and has recently been presented in Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan and at the Natural History Museum in London. It is currently on show at Salisbury Cathedral (until 9 June as part of Salisbury International Festival) and at Liverpool Cathedral (until 23 June as part of Liverpool River Festival).

More information can be found at https://my-earth.org/about/ and https://my-earth.org/research/

About Luke Jerram

Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. Luke, who is based in Bristol, is known globally for his innovative arts practice and large scale public artworks such as the ‘Museum of the Moon’, ‘Park and Slide’ (the big water slide he installed down Park street in Bristol), and the street pianos art project ‘Play Me I’m Yours’.

He says: “I was amazed and delighted that my Museum of the Moon artwork has been so popular. I’m fully aware that 3 million members of the public haven’t been coming to see an artwork by ‘Luke Jerram’ but rather ‘the Moon’; an object of universal appeal and cultural significance. With this Gaia Earth artwork, I’m interested in just how different the experience and interpretation is. For our entire human existence we have been gazing up at the moon and projecting all our hopes, dreams and wishes up there, whereas it was only in 1968 that we were able to see our planet floating in space.”  

More information can be found at www.lukejerram.com

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