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Earthrise + Planet of the Apes

An evening on the iconic first colour picture of the earth – better known as Earthrise – taken from space during the Apollo 8 mission. The image showed the earth as a vulnerable planet and led to widespread environmental awakening. With an introduction by curator Vanina Saracino and a performance by artist Bjørn Melhus. Followed by Planet of the Apes, a planet where apes rule a world destroyed by humans.

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600 million people were made aware that the earth is a vulnerable and isolated planet through seeing the Earthrise image on TV. The image went against the dominant anthropocentric view of our planet and created a new awareness about our life on this planet. The first environmental movements followed not long after.

Earthrise also offered a new perspective on our societies: the political and religious divides on earth were impossible to distinguish “from God”s eye”. People were now only a fragile element in an immense and unknown universe. The Cold War and the ensuing Space Race suddenly seemed less significant: “What began in deadly competition has helped us to see that global cooperation is the essential precondition for our survival.” (Carl Sagan).


Bjorn Melhus performance (c. 30') The artist Bjørn Melhus is the self-appointed commander of spaceship Earth. Dressed in a space suit, he shows clips from films about space travels and YouTube videos of the international space station.

Planet of the Apes Franklin Schaffner US 1968The astronauts returning from a long space travel in 2013, Charlton Heston among them, no longer recognize the earth in its present desolate state. Humans turned the earthly paradise into a desert and have paid a high price. The apes are now the ruling class: conservative, aggressive, religious, hierarchical and relentless. Planet of the Apes has uncompromising criticism to deliver on the discrimination of immigrants and reflects the anxiety about the nuclear age. As such our vulnerable planet earth also features in this film.

Also screening on 16 May is Stanley Kubrick”s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Part of


Fifty years ago, students, factory workers and filmmakers challenged the Establishment, from Paris to Mexico City, carrying not only bricks but also agile and light 16mm cameras.

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campaign image 1968: You Say You Want a Revolution (© Bruno Barbey)
Planet of the apes
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