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Es Devlin completes illuminated sculpture drawing attention to London's endangered species
United Kingdom Architecture News - Sep 26, 2022 - 15:00 1771 views
The installation, called Come Home Again, has been opened in the Tate Modern garden opposite St Paul’s Cathedral until 1 October 2022.
Commissioned by a luxury jewelry brand Cartier, the large-scale sculpture is illuminated with Devlin’s her own pencil drawings of the 243 species with special projection.
The illustrations pay attention to London’s priority conservation list, including moths, birds, beetles, wildflowers, fish and fungi, which was identified by the City of London Biodiversity Action Plan.
The aim of the installation is to give much attention towards protecting the biosphere, while paying detailed attention to its inhabitants: to observe and draw them, to learn their names, and remember their stories.
Several London-based choral groups will also perform an interpretation of Choral Even song with a sing within the illuminated sculpture, which the sings are combined with the voices of the birds, bats, and insects that also consider London their home.
Devlin's sculpture is situated in the Tate Modern Garden, directly opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
London-based choral groups of the diaspora will perform at sunset within a sliced open scale model of the dome of St. Paul’s, teeming with Devlin’s pencil drawings of each of the 243 species, illuminated with projection.
"A dome originally meant a home," said Es Devlin.
"The work invites us to see, hear, and feel our home, our city as an interconnected web of species and cultures, to learn and remember the names and sing those under threat into continued existence," Devlin added.
"The work echoes the invitation invoked by the 92-year-old climate activist Joanna Macy: “Now it can dawn on us: we are the world knowing itself. As we relinquish our isolation, we come home again...we come home to our mutual belonging," the designer continued.
Acting as a replica of a real cathedral, visitors encounter stairs in front of the cathedral. During the day visitors are invited to sit within the choral tiers of the structure immersed within the detailed drawings and surrounded by a soundscape of the sounds and names of each of these non- human Londoners.
In place of hymn books, found in traditional cathedrals, visitors are invited to use QR codes within each of the choral tiers. Thanks to QR codes, visitors are guided to have information and stories about each of the species and with the music sung by each of the choirs.
"This allows audiences to learn and remember the names of our "more than human" neighbours and feel the interconnected web of species and cultures in the city," stated the press release.
"As a longstanding Friend of the Maison, we are honoured to be working with renowned British artist, Es Devlin. Art and creativity are important in order to talk about today’s world, in a human and touching way," said Cyrille Vigneron, President of Cartier Philanthropy Council, President and CEO of Cartier.
"Come Home Again represents how we can be inspired by the beauty of the world wherever it may be. Cartier’s responsibility is to make the world more beautiful, not only through our creations but also through our commitments for nature and our philanthropic actions."
"With our commitment to beauty, art and nature in mind, we are happy to support the vital work by the London Wildlife Trust to help preserve biodiversity," Vignero added.
London’s 243 priority species have been identified by the London Biodiversity Action Plan as declining in numbers within the city and as priorities for active conservation and protection.
Audiences will be invited to engage with London Wildlife Trust in order to contribute and learn more.
"The survival of our city’s wildlife is now at a tipping point – after decades of dramatic decline in many species, the window of possibility to halt, and reverse this decline is rapidly closing," said Mathew Frith, Director of Policy & Research at London Wildlife Trust.
"Doing so depends not only upon the transformation of our everyday practices, the way we manage London’s green spaces, climate adaptive technologies and behaviours, but also upon securing a future for our wildlife in the city’s imagination."
"London Wildlife Trust is delighted to work with artist Es Devlin and Cartier to support Come Home Again, an important exploration of the role of art in the protection of London’s species and nature’s recovery across and beyond the city," Frith added.
Devlin's sculpture can be seen between 22nd September – 1st October 2022 in the Tate Modern garden opposite St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
All images © Matt Alexander.
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