Frequently Asked Questions

Explore all the fun facts and figures behind Luke Jerram’s unique installation.

Background

The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the real Earth with each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the Earth’s surface. By standing 211m away from the artwork, the public will be able to see the Earth as it appears from the moon.

Unlike the moon, which we have been gazing at for millennia, the first time humankind got to see the Earth in its entirety as a blue marble floating in space was in 1972 with NASA’s Apollo 17 mission. At this moment, our perception and understanding of our planet changed forever. Hanging in the black emptiness of space the Earth seems isolated, a precious and fragile island of life. From a distance, the Earth is just a pale blue dot.

Gaia is created in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Bluedot and the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. With supporting partners Culture Liverpool and Liverpool Cathedral.

Gaia. Photo of Luke Jerram by National Environment Research Council (NERC)

Gaia Soundtrack

30 minute surround sound composition by Dan Jones
Dan Jones is a multi award-winning composer and sound designer working in film, television and theatre. He has won a BAFTA and three Ivor Novello awards. Luke and Dan have worked on projects together since 2003. The composition begins with interviews with astronauts involved with the famous ‘Earthrise’ photograph taken in 1968. The earth is seen as a fragile and beautiful floating blue planet. The composition also contains excerpts from NASA interview recordings with astronauts about how they felt when they first saw the earth from space.

Described as the ‘Overview Effect’, the experience for astronauts is a feeling of awe for the planet; a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment. The soundtrack helps to create a sense that we are floating like astronauts in space, above the earth and watching it turn beneath us. We can hear the sounds of the ocean far below, where whales are calling to one another. We hear the sounds of the rainforests and woodlands.

Gaia, 2019 (c) W5, Belfast

Why Millennium Point?

Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award winning events venue and charitable trust. All profits from our commercial activities are reinvested into the organisation’s charitable trust, which supports STEM-related projects and initiatives in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

This 8-week installation of Luke Jerram’s Gaia artwork is our latest initiative to help entertain, educate and inspire local communities. We will be hosting a programme of events during Gaia’s residency which both entertain the public and educate on the importance of sustainability and safeguarding the planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Gaia?
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In Greek mythology, Gaia also spelled Gaea, is the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess.

Who wrote the music?
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Luke commissioned a specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning Composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture. The music is played on a loop throughout the installation when there are no events programmed to take place beneath the Earth.

Why was this artwork made?
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For our entire human existence we have been gazing up at the moon and projecting all our hopes, dreams and wishes up there. Whereas for the Earth, the first time humankind got to see our planet in its entirety as a blue marble floating in space was in 1972 with NASA’s Apollo 17 mission. At this moment, our perception and understanding of our planet changed forever. Hanging in the black emptiness of space the Earth seems isolated, a precious and fragile island of life. From a distance, the Earth is just a pale blue dot.

What is the scale of this artwork
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The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the real Earth with each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the Earth’s surface. By standing 211m away from the artwork, the public will be able to see the Earth as it appears from the moon.

Is there an Environmental Message?
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“I hope visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. An ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home. Halfway through the Earth’s six mass extinction, we urgently need to wake up, and change our behaviour. We need to quickly make urgent changes to society, to prevent run away Climate Change. ” As an artist exhibiting in museums and festivals all around the world I realize I need to change my behaviour and alter the way I work.“ says Luke

Where did the imagery come from to make this artwork?
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The satellite imagery for the artwork has been compiled from Visible Earth series, NASA.

What is the overview effect?
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The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.

What is the Blue Marble?
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The Blue Marble is an image of planet Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft at a distance of about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) from the surface. It is one of the most reproduced images in human history.

Who commissioned this artwork?
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Gaia has been ‘Created in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Bluedot Festival and The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. With supporting partners Culture Liverpool and Liverpool Cathedral.’ my-earth.org

What is Earthrise?
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Earthrise is a photograph of Earth and parts of the Moon’s surface that was taken from lunar orbit by astronaut Bill Anders in 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. Nature photographer Galen Rowell declared it “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”.

About the Exhibition at Millennium Point

About the Exhibition at Millennium Point

Is onsite parking free?
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Onsite parking starts from £3.00 for up to 2 hours to £9.50 for up to 24 hours. Full list of prices can be found here.

What public transport links are nearby?
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Millennium Point is located near all central bus, rail and metro links, with only a short ten minute walk from Birmingham city centre.

What train stations are nearby MP?
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The nearest train stations to us are Moor Street Station and New Street Station. We’re also within walking distance of Snow Hill Station.

How much does it cost to see Gaia?
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All bookings to experience Gaia at Millennium Point will be free.

How long is Gaia here for?
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The Gaia showcase will be running at Millennium Point from Tuesday 1st February until Monday 28th March 2022.

How can I stay updated with the Gaia events programme?
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To get the latest news on our Gaia event programme simply click here and fill out the short form.

Register your interest

Want to get the latest news on our Gaia event programme? Simply register your interest by clicking below and filling out our short form.

Salisbury Cathedral - - Photo by Ash Mills

Get in Touch

We believe talking is better than typing. Whether you’re thinking of visiting Gaia or hosting an event while the artwork is here, fill out the form below and a member of our friendly team will be in touch.

Alternatively, pick up the phone and give us a call now on 0121 202 2200.