252 Reviews

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Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2020

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Both of us, my wife and I, are grateful to the friend who recommend we see “Gaia” by Luke Jerram, an installation representing the Earth in three dimensions. It is suspended 3 metres above what is normally the auditorium of the Apex, a concert venue suffering at present from coronavirus restrictions. These limit attendance, which improves the viewing experience but deprives many people of the opportunity to experience a spectacular and humbling display.

We went separately, on account of the restrictions, but gained a valuable opportunity to compare impressions. Both agree on the scale of the oceans as compared with the land, suggesting the planet might more appropriately be renamed Aquaria. We also noticed how much larger southern hemisphere landmasses are than in Mercator projections. An extra bonus was that we had recently been to Houghton Hall in Norfolk to see the open air exhibition of sculpture by Anish Kapoor. Not only his “Sky Mirror” but also “Skyspace: Seldom Seen” by James Turrell, in the permanent collection, offered a fascinating comparison.

Attendance at “Gaia” required social-distancing and of course it was not possible to stand close to the installation. Nonetheless it was fascinating to see children being encouraged to adopt the pose of an astronaut in the old film “Expedition Moon” with hands up like Atlas supporting the Earth. It has to be said that some adults did the same.

Time is another factor in restricted viewing: half-hour slots were set for admission and the process of viewing from ground then gallery level meant a constant slow movement. It is as well that photography was permitted because, apart from the “worth a thousand words” pictures give an opportunity for further contemplation.

It is to be hoped that other venues will offer “Gaia” and that many people will have the opportunity to witness a fascinating humbling display.


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