The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool, online, 1 April 2020–31 March 2021, free entry - Visit now
The global impact of coronavirus has brought sweeping changes to all areas of life and upended our sense of ‘normality’. Suddenly, scenarios that would have seemed laughable a few months ago have become our new temporary normal – air travel has all but ground to a halt, schools are closed, large swathes of the workforce are operating from home. Among many things, this has highlighted the possibility, at least, of doing things differently, and raised questions about the kind of society we want to return to – including in regard to climate change.
Few could fail to marvel at the dramatic before-and-after shots splashed across the internet showing how the sudden decline in air pollution has affected cities and landscapes across the world. The Himalayas can be seen from parts of India for the first time in 30 years and clean water is returning to the Venice canals. Who would have thought 2020 would actually be the year of plummeting oil prices and record low carbon dioxide emissions?
With all this in mind, FACT’s year-long programme, The Living Planet, seems even more timely than first imagined – and has been designed for people to enjoy and interact with remotely. Exploring the question of how we can build a more sustainable, responsible global community, it consists of a dynamic online series of newly commissioned artworks, live-stream events, podcasts, interviews and activities, which is constantly being added to and updated.
Check out what’s available so far, including Augmented Empathy – a new interactive Instagram project from Keiken collective inviting audiences to rethink how we identify and connect with ourselves, each other, animals and the Earth. And artist Greg Herbert’s guide to how to build your own terrarium from recycled materials – also an education in the different varieties of micro-ecological systems that exist in our everyday infrastructure, such as back gardens, balconies, rooftops and window ledges.
Listen back to seven days of birdsong – a series of ‘sonic reimaginings’ of the dawn chorus by acclaimed ecological field recordist and musician Geoff Sample and Daniel Thorne, saxophonist, composer and founder of the Immix Ensemble. And watch Tanguy Stoecklé’s award-winning documentary, Une vie de Grand Rhinolophe (2014), about the strange and fascinating world of bats. The film is accompanied by an exclusive, in-depth Q&A with the French filmmaker, discussing the essential part the world’s only flying mammal plays in maintaining the Earth’s ecological balance.
FACT promises to keep sharing further new commissions and artistic content over the coming weeks and months, so keep checking back. In the meantime, you can also check out our earlier preview of And Say the Animal Responded? – the exhibition that kicked The Living Planet off in March.
The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool, online