Making heads spin down to earth style

| Terence Chang 16 May 2019

That evening, I stood underneath Gaia and appreciated it with its creator Luke Jerram.

The giant globe, seven meters in diameter, features detailed imagery of the Earth.

It is an overview of the planet from space - blue sea, white clouds, and brown patches of land - a sight that awed astronauts as they were flying to the moon half a century ago.

Jerram hopes the large installation artwork would remind people of the importance of protecting the environment and taking care of the Earth, the only place for mankind to live.

He is taking Gaia around the world, showing it to people in different places

Artists are spontaneous and creative.

But setting up installation artwork has to be a down-to-earth process for professionals. "Safety first," Jerram said.

Imagination, no matter how fantastic, has to be transformed into actual artwork before they can be put on display for the public to appreciate.

"Art is about interacting, interflowing and communicating with the audience," said Jerram.

Not all his works are of Gaia proportions.

There was a ring that plays music when put on the finger.

It was a very special piece of artwork for a very special purpose - to propose.

"It is the only one of its kind in the world. There is no copy," Jerram stressed.

But the exquisite art piece is not for public display, for it belongs to Jerram's wife.

The moon in the sky may be a common sight, but the sight of the Earth from the moon is not.

Gaia offers viewers the precious experience of "looking at the Earth from a different perspective" and it encourages contemplation.

While mankind appears to be insignificant in the infinite vastness of the universe, we carry a significant responsibility - to take care of the Earth, he said.

Jerram used a year to conceptualize Gaia before constructing it with the assistance of government subsidies.

The artwork debuted in Britain before making it way to Ireland, Taiwan and then Hong Kong.

The Gaia on display in Hong Kong is capable of turning around.

Each revolution takes four minutes, 365 times faster than the speed at which the real Earth spins in space, and it is 1.8 million times smaller than the real Earth.

Jerram didn't know yet what his next project would be, but said he might come up with an idea on his flight back to the UK.

Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung is the retired headmaster of Diocesan Boys School

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