Culture, Globe, United Kingdom, Visual Arts

Our time on Earth

This is a major exhibition celebrating the power of global creativity to transform the conversation around the climate emergency. Through art, design, science, music and philosophy, the exhibition presents a range of radical visions for the future of all species.


Superflux, Venice. Photo by Giorgio Lazzaro.

A journey through immersive, interactive installations and digital works, the exhibition invites visitors to experience a range of perspectives of our shared planet, exploring Earth as a community to which we all belong, humans as just one species among millions.

Entitled “Our time on Earth”, conceived and curated by Barbican International Enterprises and co-produced by the Musee de la civilisation (Canada), its purpose is to reignite respect for our complex biosphere and inspire awe and wonder for the planet.

The exhibition explores different ways of existing on Earth and finding ways to reconnect with them, while also looking at the role technology has to play in deepening our understanding and connection to the natural world.

“Our time on Earth” presents 18 works, including 12 new commissions, from 12 countries around the world to create a series of innovative new collaborations. Bringing together academics, architects, artists, activists, designers, ecologists, engineers, environmental campaigners, researchers, scientists, technologists and writers, it highlights the need to work in collaboration across disciplines to tackle climate change together.

The exhibition in the Curve takes place across three interconnected sections: Belong, Imagine and Engage, designed to create a shift in consciousness, changing the way we think about the natural world.

Marshmallow. Laser Feast, Andres Roberts, The tides within us. Photo by David Levene.

The first one, Belong, explores our connection to other species and the understanding of our place in the biosphere.

In it, there is the “Sanctuary of the unseen forest” by digital art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast with Bio Leadership Project co-founder Andres Roberts, a unique immersive video installation offering a window into tree time.

Imagine explores the positive possibilities of a near-future world based on a new value system.

There are several such possibilities: Superflux’s “Refuge for Resurgence”, whichimagines a new kind of home where humans, animals, birds, plants, moss and fungi prosper together with resilience, adaption, and hope.

There are also the intersectional indigenous-led collectives Choose Earth and Selvagem have collaborated on a new film Wild Arrow #7, and experiential commission Smīkra Wahikwa, featuring Indigenous leaders in Brazil.

Centred on creationism and re-enchantment the piece explores different ways of knowing and listening; connecting the dots between knowledge, activism, creativity and culture change.

Similarly, there is Symbiocene which looks at how Indigenous technologies are invaluable to our collective understanding of and response to the climate crisis, and Liam Young’s Planet city, a speculative and provocative film about returning stolen lands and freeing the world for rewilding by housing the world’s population in one giant sustainable city that celebrates multiple cultures.

There is also Queer Ecology, where Colombian biologist Brigitte Baptiste and Institute of Digital Fashion have created a shared collective experience, which reflects on Baptiste’s assertion ‘there is nothing more queer than nature’.

And so, there are other Imagine proposals that the public will be able to appreciate and interact with.

Planet City. Photo by Liam Young,

Finally there is Engage, which encourages and shares how people can act collectively to bring about widespread systemic change.

Here it includes Stories of change by Keralan architecture firm Wallmakers; and Sonic Waterfall, a sound and light installation by Silent Studios (Nathan Prince and Liam Paton) inspired by their work with Damon Albarn on his solo album The nearer the fountain, more pure the stream flows.

Alongside the main exhibition, “Our time on Earth” will extend all over the Centre, including an installation in The Pit and free interactive and digital exhibits presented in the Barbican’s public spaces across the summer.

Dates and venues: 5 May to 29 August, 2022, The Curve, Barbican Centre. More information: Barbican/ Our time on Earth.

(Photos supplied bu Barbican Press Office)

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