Serpentine Gallery Online Offsite International 20 Apr 20 – ongoing Free

Back to Earth is a new multi-year project that invites over sixty leading artists, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, thinkers and designers, to devise artist-led campaigns, protocols and initiatives responding to the environmental crisis, with the support of partner organisations and networks.

Interdisciplinary at its very core, Back to Earth will manifest throughout all of the Galleries’ programmes onsite, offsite and online, sharing its resources to amplify ongoing projects or campaigns, or develop new ones.

Participants include: Maria Thereza Alves, David Adjaye, Etel Adnan, Black Quantum Futurism, James Bridle, Carolina Caycedo, Judy Chicago, Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen, Cooking Sections, Agnes Denes, Manthia Diawara, Jimmie Durham, Torkwase Dyson, Olafur Eliasson, Brian Eno, Jane Fonda, Formafantasma, Fernando García-Dory/INLAND, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Macarena Gómez-Barris, Jack Halberstam, Katharine Hamnett, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Bhanu Kapil, Karrabing Film Collective, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Rudy Loewe & Jakob V Joyce, Metabolic Selves, Yoko Ono, Tabita Rezaire, Giles Round, Tai Shani, Victoria Sin, Himali Singh Soin, Superflux, Swoon, Ayesha Tan Jones, Sissel Tolaas, Cecilia Vicuña and Vivienne Westwood.


Himali Singh Soin, static range

static range is a multi-disciplinary and multi-limbed project using a real-life spy-story in the Indian Himalayas as a springboard for speculations and reflections about invisibility, leakages, spiritual entanglements, nuclear culture, socio-political marginalisation and icarian delusions. This series of transmissions that make up ‘static range’, include an adapted stamp, letters, an animation, music, embroidery, healing, planting and a performance installation.

More info here.

Vivienne Westwood: SWITCH

Vivienne Westwood’s SWITCH campaign is a call to switch to green energy supplier.

More info here.

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

“I want to make an artwork for pollinators – not about them” –Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

More info here.

Tai Shani, Untitled Hieroglyphs

As part of Back to Earth, artist Tai Shani is developing Untitled Hieroglyphs, a film and sound art project emerging from the artist’s research into psychedelics, feminism and myth and unfolding throughout 2021.

Find out more here.

Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Heavens

In its completed version, forthcoming in late 2021,  Heavens will be a moving-image work and installation. Created using planetarium projection methods to overlay planetary footage with deep sea imagery,  Heavens looks at deep space to see deep into the ocean, or perhaps the other way around. A multi-channel sound installation will form a choir of voices (human and non), unraveling a creation myth based on the hypothesis of a cosmic cause to the Cambrian explosion. Serpentine has teamed up with WePresent on Groundwork, a series of monthly deep dives into Back to Earth projects which will unfold between January and May 2021, presented in support of artists’ chosen NGOs and organisations. For the first issue of Groundwork, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen have opened up the process of making Heavens through interviews, archival images and initial audiovisual experiments. The artists have nominated the Climate Emergency Fund as their chosen charity.

Click here for more information.

Manthia Diawara

Manthia Diawara is making a new film for Back to Earth, emerging from conversations with the community in which he lives for part of the year, the seaside town of Yene, Senegal. Here he discusses the development of the film, the ways in which it records the community’s responses to climate change, and his own part as a filmmaker, in relation to the philosophical thinking of Édouard Glissant.

Find out more here.

Karrabing Film Collective, The Family

As part of Back to Earth, Karrabing Film Collective is developing The Family, a new film commission and cross-artforms project aimed at enhancing ancestral Emmi narratives about the southern coastal region of the Anson Bay (Northern Territories, Australia), and specifically about the ecologically fragile Cape Ford region. The ultimate goal of the project is the creation of a cultural heritage area.

Find out more here.

Metabolic Selves: Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture studio ADS3

Metabolic Selves is an initiative devised by students of the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture studio ADS3: Refuse Trespassing Our Bodies, on the occasion of Back to EarthMetabolic Selves rethinks our relationships to metabolism, and those microscopic agents and materials—from microplastics through to formaldehyde—that traverse our bodies and our environments as we traverse them.

Find out more here.

Maria Thereza Alves: To See the Forest Standing

To See The Forest Standing is an ongoing research-based artwork and campaign by Maria Thereza Alves to bring awareness to the protection, care and preservation of the forest by the AMAAIAC, the Association of the Movement of Indigenous Agroforestry Agents of the State of Acre, Brazil, as well as the threats to this stewardship posed by the aggressive extractive activities of agrobusiness and government alike.

Find out more here.

Carolina Caycedo: From River Rights to Just Fair Energy Transition

Drawing on her own Colombian-American roots, multidisciplinary artist Carolina Caycedo is researching community-led alternative energy production across the Americas. The basis of her campaign for Back to Earth is her long-running investigation into human interaction with rivers, from access to clean water supplies to toxicity levels and the impact of dams.

Find out more here.

Judy Chicago, Swoon and Jane Fonda: #CreateArtforEarth

#CreateArtForEarth campaign kicks off with an open call for anyone to submit art or messages addressing climate justice and post them to social media using the hashtag #CreateArtForEarth. Submissions can be in any form: paintings, photographs, sculptures, images, texts, poems, symbols, or any other visual representation that carries an environmental message. Find out more on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. During this period of uncertainty and social distancing, while streets are empty and in person demonstrations are suspended, #CreateArtForEarth is a call to make protest visible and create art that reflects our mutual commitment to stop the climate crisis and protect our planet.

Find out more here.

Olafur Eliasson: Earth Perspectives

Earth Perspectives, a new participatory artwork by Olafur Eliasson launched on Earth Day, Wednesday 22 April 2020, as part of Back to Earth. Olafur Eliasson’s new work, Earth Perspectives encapsulates how maps, space, and the earth itself are human constructs, which we have the power to see from other perspectives, whether individually or collectively.

Find out more here.

Back to Earth thinks about ecology as it weaves in and out of those practices and agencies embedded in the everyday. Rather than celebrating escape strategies from Earth, reserved for the few, it roots itself firmly in the messy and complex realities of the ground we walk on. A multi-disciplinary project taking place across all of the Serpentine’s strands, Back to Earth is both a programme about change and a catalyst for change. Much like the climate crisis itself, Back to Earth is a complex web of interconnected research, interventions and activities. It asks:

  • What new ecosystems can foster agency within ecosystems?
  • What kinds of research-sharing, resource-sharing and collaborative working practices are necessary to present complex responses to complex problems?

Throughout the course of the project, we will be tracking how each campaign, as well as the programming and organisational structure that subtends them, can become a prototype that can be translated or applied throughout other organisations. These methodologies and practices will be open-sourced as a toolkit, on our website and via podcast. The first in this process is a podcast series, exploring the initiatives from the voice of the artist and invited guests, listen below.


Episode 1 – How Do We Get There?
Episode 2 – Sowing the Seeds
Episode 3 – Drops Make an Ocean
Episode 4 – By Leaves We Listen
Episode 5 – Tracing the Roots
Episode 6 – Systems and Sprouts
Episode 7 – Standing with the Forest
Episode 8 – Queer Currents
Episode 9 – Can I Get Back to You?

Back to Earth emerges out of the Serpentine’s long-standing engagement with the topics of extinction and the disappearance of species, knowledges and customs, which began with the 2014 Extinction Marathon, co-curated with artist Gustav Metzger, as well as out of General Ecology, the Serpentine’s multi-year project taking place across public programmes, publications, exhibition and radio with the aim of embedding environmental and ecological concerns across the Galleries’ programmes, infrastructure and networks.

Back to Earth is curated and produced by:

Rebecca Lewin, Curator, Exhibitions and Design
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director
Jo Paton, Chief Producer
Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator, General Ecology
Holly Shuttleworth, Producer
Kostas Stasinopoulos, Assistant Curator, Live Programmes

with further collaborations taking place across the entire organisation of the Serpentine Galleries.

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Discover 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architecture pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas marathon and the General Ecology programme, explore 50 years of artists, projects and exhibitions.

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