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Google's Arts & Culture experiment uses jellyfish, bumblebees, flying cigarette butts and more to teach us about climate change

Google's Arts & Culture experiment uses jellyfish, bumblebees, flying cigarette butts and more to teach us about climate change
  • Google has collaborated with scientific agencies and artists to come up with a unique initiative.
  • The Heartbeat of the Earth experiment shows challenges our climate faces through creative data visualizations.
  • Do check out the amazing work of these artists to understand the project better.
After releasing the 3D Timelapse feature to track climate change impact on Google Earth, the search giant has now shared a set of climate experiments under the “Heartbeat of the Earth” initiative -- a series of online artworks depicting scientific climate data. The project is a collaboration between Google Arts & Culture Lab, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and a bunch of artists. It was first introduced last year during world environment day.

These artists used key findings from a UN report and data from scientific institutions like the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Meteorological Organisation, to create interactive pieces of art concerning our climate. The eight pieces of art address topics like air pollution, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, the impact of microplastics, declining biodiversity and other climate change-related issues.

Google has published a blog post a couple of days before Earth day -- April 22 -- to share the new climate experiments created by artists Giorgia Lupi, Felicity Hammond, Cristina Tarquini and Sey Min. These interactive art pieces let you learn about the climate challenges using creative data visualisations, which is a simpler medium to convey complex subjects instead of complicated graphs and charts.

Using art and culture to build a sustainable future

Artists bring the answer to the most complex scientific questions through art. Answers to questions like where do the disposed plastic go, or what can jellyfish teach us about climate change, or simply what species will be lost due to temperature rise?

The first creative experience is called the 'Plastic Air' that depicts how plastic is degraded into minute pieces (microplastics) which are mixed with the air we breathe. Made by data artist Giorgia Lupi and team, the art gives you a lens to virtually explore the plastic particles that are present around us. It is a breathtaking and eye-opening interactive that you must see.

Then there is an intriguing art by Cristina Tarquini called 'Medusae' that uses point cloud visualisation that lets you take a virtual dive into the Mediterranian Ocean to find out what jellyfish can teach us about the changing climate as they are the master of adaptation to the most uninhabitable conditions, proven over 670 million years of change. It tells us that the increase in the number of jellyfishes is a clue to climate change as it affects them differently than other fish species. Rising temperature, a decline in predator species, acidifying water and lack of oxygen has made them thrive. This interactive art takes you through the journey to show how jellyfish are key indicators of the change.

The next art is called the 'Impact Filter', created by artist Sey Min. It is also an interactive tool that lets you see what we might lose due to temperature rise. The artist has used a machine learning model on thousands of images of 62 different types of species sorted by animal type. There's a bar to change the temperature to see what happens to different species and reveal the new Anthropocene species we leave behind.

Similarly, there are a bunch of other interactive art pieces from different artists. You can visit this link to find all of them in one place and take a look at the art pieces by yourself.


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