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More-than-Planet exhibition gives perspective

What is Planet A? A new exhibition in the Old Observatory sheds light on how we all have different perceptions of earth. In five art installations, visitors are confronted with their own beliefs and how these differ from those of others.

‘You and I don’t live on the same planet. That’s something French Philosopher Bruno Latour said’, curator Miha Turšič begins. ‘People have different concepts of our planet, envision it differently. In this exhibition we are building on top of that very human fact. We want to explore where these concepts come from and with what technologies they were formed.’

'That's how we may achieve change through art.'

There is no Planet B

Understanding these different worldviews is important for the public debate. How can we discuss the future of our planet if we do not first agree on what that planet is? ‘For example, for sustainability problems, it’s really important to understand what planet people have in mind,’ Turšič continues. ‘In the environmental movement the phrase “There is no Planet B” is often used. Within this exhibition we shift the focus to first understanding what Planet A is.’

Framing Earth in different ways

The exhibition, which is a collaboration between the Old Observatory and the Waag Futurelab, does so by putting Earth in different frames. Exploring worldviews based on facts, interests, justice, or concerns. ‘It is through these concepts that we, as humans, may understand the environment around us and give meaning to it,’ Turšič explains.

A concerning perspective

Take for example the piece by Territorial Agency called Sensible Zone, that looks at our planet from a perspective of concerns. Turšič: ‘The work tries to identify the places we need to point our attention too. All based on where we express and show our concerns. In this case, within the context of sea level rise.’

Sensible Zone in action

Standing in the centre of the room, you are surrounded by seven screens. On these screens satellite viewpoints and computational models of a connected land and sea are shown. The viewpoints and models change appearance to depict the consequences of rising sea levels.

‘The artists call this method ‘visual policy making’. A way to tell a data driven story to policy makers without using words, but only images instead. Sensible Zone is a tool for possible change, and just one example of how we may achieve change through art.’

Understanding cultural context for a change

Instigating change through art is part of the larger perspective of S+T+ARTS, the European initiative that More-than-Planet grew out from. How can science, technology and art work together to foster innovation? By better understanding the cultural context through art, societal change could happen more easily.

New works under way

‘The aim of the larger project is to find out what is needed to create more of these science-art collaborations. We are planning to create some new works that combine environmental humanities with science. This exhibition is only the starting point, the legacy on which we will build.’

Visit the exhibition

More-than-Planet will be open for visitors till 23rd December in the visitor centre of the Old Observatory.

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