Shifting Landscapes: an immersive exhibition exploring the changing Earth

Shifting Landscapes: an immersive exhibition exploring the changing Earth

Didn’t get invited to COP28? Weep not. Consider instead the more conveniently located and arguably more engaging Shifting Landscapes, an environmentally oriented immersive event, running from 1 to 10 December 2023 at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf on the South Bank.

The Bargehouse venue, outside, black and white
The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf

The exhibits in Shifting Landscapes span the Earth: from the Arctic to the Colombian Amazon, via vanishing Cambodian mangrove sands; the bewitching Hoh rainforest in north America; Britain’s dwindling population of nightingales; the vitality of Slovenian bees; the fire and ice of the Tunisian desert; the ruination of a Romanian copper mine; and the microscopic migration of cells.

Inevitably, the artists’ works lament the desecration human endeavour has wrought on the natural landscapes they feature. But they do not invite us to stand on the outside and shake our heads sadly.

Large screens in a dark room showing Breathing with the Forest exhibit
Breathing with the Forest (Marshmallow Laser Feast)

Rather the artists evoke participation, not casual observation; celebration and wonder, not mourning and despair.

For example, the Hoh rainforest is experienced through a VR headset, planting you amidst soaring trees or standing on the ragged shoreline. And the biome of the Colombian Amazon is portrayed on 3 enormous, slowly panning screens with fully immersive sound. Even the venue itself looks like it is decaying back to the soil, feeding new skyscrapers sprouting along Southbank.

Room with exhibits The Pollinators of Slovenia on video screens and Sanctuaries of Silence on virtual reality headsets
The Pollinators of Slovenia (Bram Broerse and Maurits Wouters); Sanctuaries of Silence (Adam Loften and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee)

Curated by Emmy- and Peabody-nominated filmmaker, composer and publisher, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Shifting Landscapes features works by 9 international artists: Adam Loften, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Gheorghe Popa, Kalyanee Mam, Katie Holten, Kiliii Yüyan, Marshmallow Laser Feast, Studio Airport and Zied Ben Romdhane.

There is a programme of events throughout the week, including opportunities to meet some of the artists.

Red-coloured brick room containing Wandering Within installation by Katie Holten
Wandering Within (Katie Holten)
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Andrew Charlesworth