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Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive brings the ocean to London

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Serpentine North has been transformed into an immersive underwater environment through their new exhibition Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive on show until the 7th of April.  

Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive is Anadol’s first major institutional solo exhibition in the UK and investigates how technology alters our perception of the natural world. 

The walls of the Serpentine are wrapped in floor-to-ceiling screens which immerse the viewer in an underwater and rainforest environment that utilises years-long experimentation with visual data of coral reefs and rainforests. The space is also filled with mesmeric melodies and the sound of rushing waves. Central to the main space are two smaller, intimate rooms. One room features a collection of beanbags and a screen suspended from the ceiling so you can sit and look up at the coral, feeling as if you were floating underwater yourself. The other central room presents eight smaller screens which display ever-changing sequences of morphing colourful shapes.  

The exhibition was created by Refik Anadol an internationally renowned artist and AI expert. His works explore how our perception and experience of time and space are changing with the influence of machines and artificial intelligence. Anadol was the first to use artificial intelligence in a public artwork and his immersive environments bring together art, science and technology.  

Two people looking at the installation screens in Artificial Realities showing coral.
Refik Anadol, Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive, 2024. Installation view, Serpentine North. Photo: Hugo Glendinning. Courtesy Refik Anadol Studio and Serpentine.

Artificial Realities: Coral plunges you under the waves, into a strange, ever-changing environment, highlighting the vital role of coral reefs in the ocean ecosystem. The coral forms morph and flow, changing colour and shape while the rushing of the sea washes over you. The installation utilises data visualisation and machine learning methods to create AI underwater sculptures that resemble corals and help restore ecosystems in the oceans.  

Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet, they support 25% of all marine species, are a source of food for hundreds of millions of people, power coastal economies and shelter coastlines from storms and erosion. The installation demonstrates that when collaboration exists between machines, humans, and nature the result can be hopeful and inspire change.  

Even in the middle of London you can feel connected to the ocean and reflect on its importance to our survival.  

Featured image by Hugo Glendinning via Refik Anadol Studio and Serpentine.

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