GAIA is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. It is a slowly revolving balloon measuring six metres (20 feet) in diameter and created from detailed photos (120dpi) of the Earth’s surface shot from NASA missions. A specially made composition played in surround-sound by the distinguished British composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture in 30-minute cycles. The voices of astronauts aboard the spacecrafts, the resonance of the solar system and the composer’s own planetary interpretations are sounded in continuous play. The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the real Earth with each centimetre of the internally-lit sculpture depicting 18km of the Earth’s surface. If a viewer could stand 211m away from the artwork, the Earth would appear to that viewer as it did to an astronaut standing on the moon.

While GAIA presents our planet as seen from space, we’ll also bring the focus directly to our own country with a Giant Floor Map (11 by 8 metres) displaying CANADA FROM SPACE. Thanks to our presenting partners, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Canadian Geographic Education, this map displays our entire country using images captured by Canada’s RADARSAT-2 satellite. Quite literally,one can walk from sea to sea to sea and interpret regional variations in Canada’s environment, climate and physical geography. To add to the fun, a series of augmented and virtual reality experiences about the relationship between humans and the natural world will be available for viewing on tablets or smartphones that students may bring along. Plan an extra half hour to your visit to GAIA to experience the Floor Map too.

WHAT NOW? INFORMATION VILLAGE: Saturdays – June 3, 10, 24
A “village” of displays by environmental organizations, will help to answer the question “What next?” How can visitors to GAIA translate its inspiration into personal action to fight climate change and preserve biodiversity and clean water? How can we change our lifestyles to be more Earth-friendly? How do we become effective advocates for nature and climate? What do we need to do to ensure that our grandchildren and their grandchildren inherit a blue and green planet as beautiful as GAIA? You’re welcome to browse through the Village and ask questions of the professionals gathered in Exeter.