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. 

Born out of Serpentine Galleries’ long-term project Back to Earth, the book includes a compendium of recipes, sketches, photographs, essays, spells and instructions that urge us to engage with the climate emergency in new and imaginative ways in our daily lives. With contributions from 140 artists, scientists, architects and filmmakers, the book follows a ‘do-it-yourself’ guide on how to shape a more ecological and equitable future. 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth offers innovative ways to rethink our relationship with our environment and change our actions accordingly, from some of the most creative minds of our generation.

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes’ contribution to 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes’ contribution to the book 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth

Gustav Metzger who is renowned for his efforts to tackle climate change and raise awareness up until his death in 2017 was the inspiration behind the book. Artist James Bridle, who coined the term New Aesthetic, shows us how to assist a plant’s climate change migration journey by carrying them to a new spot. Meanwhile, musician Cosmo Sheldrake offers instructions on making ancient inks and Australian performance artists ask that we bury bananas. Alejandro González Iñárritu wants to get everyone involved by offering a manual for immigrants. Other featured artists include Olafur Eliasson, Etel Adnan, Pedro Reyes, Judy Chicago, Black Quantum Futurism Collective, Vivienne Westwood and Marina Abramović

The book is published to coincide with the multi-year initiative Serpentine Galleries project, Back to Earth. The programme is a catalyst for change which focuses on ecology and rather than supporting escape strategies from Earth, reserved for the few, it roots itself firmly in the realities of the ground we walk on. In a complex web of interconnected research, intervention and activities, the new book weaves in interdisciplinary knowledge to explore pressing questions: what new ecosystems can foster agency within exisitng ecosystems? And what kinds of collaborative working practices are necessary to present clear responses to complex problems? §

Poem True Tree, by Cecilia Vicuña, as featured in 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth

Poem True Tree, by Cecilia Vicuña, as featured in 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth