Environmental installation is one of the highest attended art events to have taken place in Jersey.
More than thirty one thousand people visited the recent Floating Earth installation at Queen’s Valley Reservoir over the 12 day display period, according to organisers. The piece, created by artist Luke Jerram and presented by ArtHouse Jersey in partnership with Jersey Water, was part of the art charity’s current project No Place Like Home, an ambitious, multifaceted exhibition considering how each of us thinks of home and our place in the universe. The visitor numbers suggest that Floating Earth by Luke Jerram was one of the most attended arts events to have ever taken place in the Island.
How floating earth came to be in Jersey
Having come across Floating Earth in the setting of London’s Canary Wharf for last year’s Festival of Lights, the question was raised ‘Would it be possible to bring this to Jersey?’ Having explored the logistics of such a task with Luke Jerram’s team, as well as diving deep into the ethos and messaging of the work itself, the arts charity set about identifying a number of possible locations before landing on the serene and much-loved natural spot of Queen’s Valley Reservoir. At this point ArtHouse Jersey and Jersey Water established a relationship to deliver the project in partnership. Jersey Water proved themselves to be stellar partners throughout the project’s planning and delivery, helping manage the logistics at the reservoir while working closely with local authorities and neighbours alike to make this an accessible and safe event for all.
The response to the appearance of Floating Earth has been nothing short of incredible, with over thirty one thousand people from all walks of Jersey life making their way to experience the glowing globe’s magic. This piece was created from NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, providing the opportunity to see our planet floating in three dimensions. It sought to generate the feelings of awe that astronauts report feeling when viewing the planet from space (otherwise known as the Overview Effect), a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment. From the moment the installation took its place at the reservoir, the public were attracted to it, many travelling by bike, foot and public transport. Many visitors reported they would not ordinarily attend an art gallery, however shared their moving and profound emotions experienced when spending time with the installation. Thousands of images and videos were shared across social media channels with Floating Earth’s capture potential presenting a welcome platform for the community’s creative side. ArtHouse Jersey were delighted that many schools, charities and community groups came along to enjoy the work, with some visiting more than once.
A team effort
Many people and organisations worked together to make Floating Earth such a success. ArtHouse Jersey and Jersey Water would like to sincerely thank the Bailiff’s Panel, surrounding neighbours and the Parish Constables and Centeniers for their support and advice. Additionally, specialist help was provided by:
- Peter Le Maistre of Master Farms for use of a field for parking
- Ronez Quarry for supplying granite weights to hold Floating Earth down
- Atlantic Security for blue-badge marshalling and guarding
- Jonathan Le Maistre of Tree Surgery for supplying woodchip
- Jayen Limited for their assistance with car park landscaping
- Anneville Farm for tractor support
- Ransoms Garden Centre for a reserve parking option
- Steve Cartwright at the Bailiff’s Office for his tireless support and enthusiasm for public art
- GoJ’s I&E Roads and Events team
- All the volunteers who helped marshal and steward the event.
Director of ArtHouse Jersey, Tom Dingle, said: “As expected, Floating Earth proved to be an astounding hit with Islanders. We wanted to deliver something that offered a sense of universal recognition, something unforgettable that everyone in the community could relate to, without exception. To welcome such an incredible cross-section of the community to the reservoir was fantastic. Our sincere thanks go to our partners Jersey Water, the Bailiff’s Chambers, the parish authorities and generous neighbours who all significantly contributed to this incredible experience. This piece was just one installation that forms part of our exhibition ‘No Place Like Home’, currently showing at Capital House. Projects such as these are only possible due to the increased investment in the arts that the Government has provided through its commitment of 1% spend for arts, heritage and culture; I think that this is just one of a number of initiatives that hopefully give the public a flavour of the return on that investment.”
CEO for Jersey Water, Helier Smith, said: “Floating Earth was quite possibly the most unique and well-attended event Jersey has experienced for some time, attracting and captivating thousands of people of all ages across our diverse Island communities. We are immensely proud to have partnered with local arts charity ArtHouse Jersey to bring the installation to the Island and in doing so bring joy to so many. We hope, as intended, it has presented a fresh perspective of planet earth and the shared responsibility we all have to protect it. We will always try to support initiatives where we can make a positive impact for Islanders and Island life. So many groups collaborated to make this event possible, from the teams at Jersey Water and ArtHouse Jersey working and volunteering around the clock to the support we received from the parishes and Bailiff’s Office. In particular, we want to acknowledge the neighbouring residents for their understanding and patience over the past two weeks while tens of thousands of people have visited Queen’s Valley reservoir.”