Monday, December 18, 2017 - 16:30

A large-scale ceramic sculpture representing one of the world’s smallest but most important organisms is to become the centrepiece for the Eden Project in Cornwall’s forthcoming Invisible Worlds programme.

Designed by artist duo Studio Swine and commissioned with the help of cultural agency Futurecity, the sculpture will pay homage to Cyanobacteria, one of the first organisms on the planet to produce oxygen.

The sculpture will be revealed when the Invisible World’s programme is launched at the Eden Project in late spring next year (2018).

Studio Swine (which stands for Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) is a collaboration between Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves.

The duo wanted to build a monument to these vital but invisible unsung heroes, in the same way as notable people are commemorated with statues.

The sculpture will take a central position in the Core building at Eden, installed on the ground floor but reaching up beyond the first floor mezzanine to the second floor.

Invisible Worlds is a permanent, immersive exhibition programme which explores the world beyond our senses.

It will introduce the interconnectedness between life and the Earth’s environments, revealing the invisible life and systems that support our health and help shape life on Earth. It will be based in and around the Core, which will reopen fully in late spring 2018.

Further exhibits and artworks, inspired by and expanding on the themes of Invisible Worlds, will be unveiled in the near future.

Azusa and Alexander of Studio Swine said: “Creating an artwork for Eden has been an incredible, perspective-changing experience which we wanted to translate into our installation which changes the way you see and think about the world.”

Dr Jo Elworthy, Eden’s Director of Interpretation, said: “The vast majority of life on Earth is microscopic. Around three billion years ago, Cyanobacteria had one of the most massive and fundamental effects on our planet when they evolved to not only harvest sunlight but also produce oxygen as a by-product.

“They are still here today along with their distant descendants found in plants and types of phytoplankton. Together the members of this family tree replenish the oxygen in our air and enable us to breathe.

“We are very excited to be raising awareness of this remarkable microbe and its importance to life on Earth with this awe-inspiring sculpture."

Wellcome awarded £1.9m to the Eden Project in June 2016 to help create Invisible Worlds. This significant investment will support the creation of ten new exhibits for the programme, all exploring our relationship to the invisible worlds around and inside us, from microbiology to the trends affecting our future. 
Invisible Worlds is due to open at Eden in late spring 2018 and will inspire further exhibitions and seasonal events at Eden in the coming years. Invisible Worlds is supported by Wellcome, the Wolfson Foundation and the Sackler Foundation.

Architects Tate Harmer have been working with Eden on the transformation of the Core building to accommodate this major new exhibition.