Olafur Eliasson’s AR app sees kids speak up for the planet

The Danish-Icelandic artist’s augmented reality Earth Speakr initiative puts children at the core of the climate change discourse 

Earth Speakr, 2020
Olafur Eliasson, Earth Speakr, 2020, for the Federal Foreign Office on the occasion of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2020. Photography: Lars Borges.
(Image credit: Lars Borges)

Recently launched, Earth Speakr urges global leaders and policymakers to listen to the voices of young people speaking up for their planet’s future. The project comprises an app, website and physical presentations, available in all 24 official languages of the EU and accessible globally.
Eliasson’s practice is deeply engaged with society and the environment, and this is not his first foray into AR. Earlier this year, he launched the Wunderkammer project, which saw users ‘bring the outside in’ through the artist’s intriguing collection of natural elements, from a radiating sun to an amicable puffin.

Olafur Eliasson's Earth Speakr app sees the faces of children transform into their environment

Olafur Eliasson, Earth Speakr, 2020

(Image credit: TBC)

People of all ages can download the free Earth Speakr app and see their environment transform through playful AR technology. Users first design a face which mirrors the expressions of their own. This can then merge with anything from a shoe, to a plastic bag, a tree or an entire building. Both entertaining and serious, the app aims to drum home the severity of the climate emergency and prick up the ears of those in power. Children and young people below the voting age can then record messages, quite literally on behalf of the planet, and share their thoughts globally via the Earth Speakr network.

‘What Earth Speakr will become depends on the Earth Speakrs – their creativity and imagination. The artwork is made up of their thoughts and visions, concerns and hopes’, explains Eliasson. ‘What they create can be playful and whimsical, serious, or poetic. There is no right or wrong, and it is easy for everyone to take part. Earth Speakr invites kids to speak their hearts and minds and participate in shaping our world and the planet, today and in the future.’

Earth Speakr gives kids the floor, and adults the chance to listen. It sees the next generation become both artists and spokespeople for their planet, and have a great deal of fun in the process.

A child engages with Olafur Eliasson's new AR app

Olafur Eliasson, Earth Speakr, 2020

(Image credit: TBC)