Radiohead Singer Thom Yorke Orchestrates Massive Eco-Art Ode to King Canute

by Jonathan on November 26, 2010

Thom Yorke added his voice today to the growing chorus of artists supporting this coming week’s first-ever planetary art show: 350 EARTH.

From November 20-27, the week before the UN Climate Meetings in Cancun, Mexico, artists are working with citizens in over a dozen locations to create massive, climate-themed public art installations that will be photographed by satellites traveling 17,000 m.p.h. nearly 400 miles above the surface of the planet.

The initiative is being coordinated by the international climate campaign and DigitalGlobe, a Colorado based company who has donated hours worth of free satellite time to photograph and process images of the events.

Yorke explained on the Radiohead website, “The plan is to make images visible from the skies to remind those in Cancun that we’re running out of time. We can’t keep putting this off.”

“Art can convey in a different way than science the threat that climate change poses to our planet,” said founder and environmental author Bill McKibben. “The world’s best scientists have tried to wake-up politicians to the climate crisis, now we’re counting on artists to help.”

As part of the project, Yorke is working with to gather thousands of people on the coastline in Brighton, UK on November 27 to form an enormous version of the image from the cover of his album The Eraser: the picture of King Canute, a Norse ruler who futilely tried to control the ocean.

In a 2006 interview, Yorke explained the symbolism of the story:

“In the paper one day, [Friends of the Earth activist] Jonathan Porrit was basically dismissing any commitment that the working government has toward addressing global warming, saying that their gestures were like King Canute trying to stop the tide. And that just went “kaching” in my head. It’s not political, but that’s what I feel is happening. We’re all King Canutes, holding our hands out, saying, “It’ll go away. I can make it stop.” No, you can’t.” will be unveiling the images throughout the week of November 20-27 on the 350 EARTH website and over social media. Hi-res satellite photos and aerial images of each art project will be available for the press and online media, as well as displayed at the UN Climate Talks in Cancun.

“Our leaders are still labouring under the assumption that they can turn the tide of mother nature,” said Yorke. “Enough of this. There is no more time.”

Thom writes at Dead Air Space:

Nov 27th @ 11am..

(that’s a Saturday morning at a civilised hour errr right..????)
Location Brighton.

WANTED 2000 people who want to be part of human King Cnut type image facing the sea that is visible from space as part of the Earth350

People who want to be part of it need to register here:


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