Project commissioned for Earth Day at Somerset House

Project commissioned for Earth Day at Somerset House

This two-week season to mark Earth Day 2019 features commissions and events by artists and writers whose work explores the important role of language and storytelling in promoting collective action on the global climate crisis. As part of Somerset House’s year-round commitment to environmental sustainability, the programme explores different themes related to climate change and sustainable living and includes a new courtyard commission, artist talks, hands-on workshops and much more.

In this new project commissioned by Somerset House, artist Justin Brice Guariglia presents his largest scale installation to date, REDUCE SPEED NOW!, formed of nine large solar-powered LED signs usually seen on motorways. 

Contributors include the 16-year-old Swedish political activist, Greta Thunberg, whose protests over the past year have since mobilised students across the world and recently inspired thousands of young people across the UK to protest against political inaction on climate change. Her speech sits alongside the voices of global indigenous elders, whose lives are deeply connected to nature and the preservation of ancient human wisdom. Another sign displays the poem Rise: From One Island to Another by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviâna, from the Marshall Islands and Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) respectively. The islanders’ poem demonstrates the interdependency of the world and forms a call for action to city dwellers in the face of an environmental crisis.

Other writing includes excerpts from French philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour’s provocative publications; witty aphorisms written by eco-theorist Timothy Morton; and Guariglia’s own thoughts on climate change, accumulated from over two decades of work addressing the subject.

The striking installation extends beyond the courtyard with a further LED warning sign by Guariglia located on Somerset House’s Lancaster Place, addressing the public in a range of different languages widely spoken in the capital.

A library of the works featured in REDUCE SPEED NOW! will be available for visitors to read in Seamen’s Hall.

Tuesday 16th – Monday 29th April 2019
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