Artist Luke Jerram’s spectacular floating sculpture of Planet Earth has a new home when it lands in Warrington – Parr Hall.
Gaia, which accurately depicts the Earth’s surface as it would be viewed from space using detailed NASA imagery, was originally set to launch in Queens Gardens.
But the plans have been revised to provide certainty for the event following recent adverse weather conditions which could have had an impact on the programme or even seen its cancellation.
Due to the change, the dates for Gaia have also been slightly altered from 4 to 6 March to 6 to 10 March.
But this means the awe-inspiring artwork can be viewed by the public – as well as schools and community groups – for a longer period and there will be more themed events.
Another benefit of having the floating three-dimensional artwork of Earth indoors is that it can rotate as intended because Culture Warrington’s technical team will have more control over it.
Gaia, which is an imposing 7m in diameter, will follow in the giant leaps of Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon which also came to Parr Hall back in October 2019 for the Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.
And it will be just as atmospheric thanks to a surround sound composition created by BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones.
Leah Biddle, Cultural Manager at Culture Warrington, said: “It’s really disappointing not to be able to present Gaia as planned in Queens Gardens but we couldn’t risk the potential of having to cancel the event and upsetting our visitors.
“Presenting Gaia in Parr Hall means that we can welcome even more people to see this beautiful installation as well as host a small programme underneath that will cater for all ages.”
Gaia will be free to view but tickets are required for the launch day on Sunday, 6 March, to control numbers.
There will also be a number of events taking place in the shadow of the ‘planet’ over the five days.
Kicking it all off will be Stronger Together – an Arts Council supported and environmentally-themed contemporary dance production choreographed by Stacey Atkinson.
A cohort of 38 professional and community dancers and undergraduate dance students from Salford University will be performing beneath Gaia at 6pm on the Sunday.
They will be performing a new piece of music specially commissioned for the event by Gary Lloyd.
Stacey, who has been supported by facilitators Bettina Carpi, Maria Mortimor, Dina Robinson and Elisa McCauley as well as costume designer Enya Koster, added: “This is such an exciting and unique opportunity. To be choreographing a dance piece to be performed under the internationally renowned installation, Gaia feels so incredibly important at such a crucial time for our planet.
“Creating a piece of dance that looks at this has been extremely eye-opening, moving and touching at times. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been involved in this connection of dance, art and music.
“What I hope for from this performance is that the Warrington community gain more awareness and consideration as to how they can adapt and change their way of living to support the environmental sustainability of the planet. We can only make a positive impact by coming together, being united and being ‘stronger together’.”
Culture Warrington has also teamed up with Independent Street Market on the launch day, Sunday, 6 March, to encourage people to make a day of it with a pop-up artisan market between 11am and 4pm and street food stalls and bars open until 10pm.
Or for something that is out of this world, how about some cosmic yoga? The Yoga Space will be hosting a one-hour workshop themed around the Earth at 6pm on Tuesday, 8 March.
Then on Thursday, 10 March, Cameron Brown will lead a drawing workshop under Gaia at 7.30pm.
The event will bring back memories for the Warrington artist as he won Art Battle Manchester under Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon in the same venue at the Contemporary Arts Festival 2019.
The floating artwork got its name from Greek mythology in which Gaia is the personification of the Earth.
Visitors will know what it is like for astronauts when they gaze at the planet with a new and profound understanding of the interconnection of all life.
It is hoped it will give people a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic which has reminded us that we have a responsibility toward one another.
To book to see Gaia or to attend any of the ticketed events visit parrhall.culturewarrington.org