Though they are the ones who will bear the consequences of whatever action is taken today to protect the environment, kids are rarely heard in these matters. Wanting to give them a voice, a renowned artist has created a piece of art that does exactly that.
Developed by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, the artwork entails an augmented reality app, called Earth Speakr, that allows children to digitally transplant their face onto their environment to help give them a voice in discussions about the climate crisis.
The project is part of a collective artwork, also including a dedicated website, which gives a platform to those who are too young to be involved in the official political process in regards to climate change, but who will be profoundly affected by its impacts and carry a disproportionate burden compared with adults.
“It’s about giving the planet a voice through those who are going to inherit it. Earth Speakr invites kids to speak up for the planet and adults to listen to what they have to say,” explains Eliasson in a demo video for the app.
The app works by letting kids design a three-dimensional, CGI face, which mirrors their expressions and movements. Children can then record a message and superimpose this face on their surroundings, whether on a plastic bottle, a rock, or a flower, to create the impression that the object is talking.
Meanwhile, adults are encouraged to amplify their favorite messages and share them with others by collating them into so-called Loud Speakrs. These essentially function as AR playlists, which can be placed next to prominent locations like a parliament building on the project’s virtual map and accessed at that location in real life using the app.
The artwork was created to celebrate Germany’s presidency of the Council of the European Union this year and is available in the 24 official languages of the EU. To ensure the children’s messages are actually heard, a selection of them will be streamed at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg as well as at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.