140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth

140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth


Front cover, 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth.

September 26, 2021
140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth
Edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Kostas Stasinopoulos
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What can artists offer in response to climate change? 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth is an urgent and innovative response to re-thinking the climate emergency from some of the most creative minds of our generation, brought together by curator and Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist, Kostas Stasinopoulos and the team behind the Serpentine’s long-term Back to Earth project. 

This book is a compendium of recipes, sketches, photographs, essays, spells and instructions that ask readers to engage with the climate emergency in new and imaginative ways throughout daily life, from our homes and communities to parks and public spaces. It is a companion for thinking about new, more ecological and more equitable futures through the minds of 140 of the most influential artists, scientists, architects, filmmakers and more of our time.

Inspired by Gustav Metzger, an artist and activist renowned for his efforts to tackle climate change and raise awareness during the ’70s and up until his death in 2017, Back to Earth is a multi-year project developed by Serpentine that invites 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.

Rather than celebrating escape strategies from Earth, reserved for the few, Back to Earth roots itself firmly in the messy and complex realities of the ground on which we walk. Back to Earth is both a programme about change and a catalyst for change. Rather than scalability, the project and this publication look at multipliability. 

There is no such thing as a single solution to a problem as complex and multifaceted as the climate crisis; 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth echoes this multiplicity. It seeks to foster a diversity of responses and experiences, and collaboration across disciplines, at a time when interconnectedness is urgently needed. 

“We hope that holding this book, going through its pages and listening to its many voices will offer alternate -yet connected- visions of our planet, food for thought, seeds to grow, incentives to cook, dream and act, individually and collectively, as we look ahead and imagine together, for the sake of the next 50, 500 or 5,000 years.“  —from the Introduction

Back to Earth is curated and produced by Rebecca Lewin, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jo Paton, Lucia Pietroiusti, Holly Shuttleworth and Kostas Stasinopoulos.

140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth is published with special thanks to Bettina Korek, Stefan McGrath, Maria Bedford, Emmy Yoneda, Tom Etherington, Jordan Page, Claude Adjil, Yesomi Umolu, Brian Eno, Alice Rawsthorn and Kevin Conroy Scott. 

“As the world digests the contents of the recent UN report on climate change, the book 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth by Serpentine Galleries’ artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist and curator Kostas Stasinopoulos couldn’t have been published at a more fitting time.”  Nuray Bulbul, Wallpaper*


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