Selfridges Eye:

June 2019

With Extinction Rebellion taking over London, the Venice Biennale dominated by art that’s confronting sustainability, and schoolchildren cutting classes to protest about climate issues, it feels as if the conversation around the future of our planet has taken on a new urgency. And culture – be that art installations or magazines – is deeply embedded in the conversation too. Here we celebrate the top five places we see this happening. 

Sun & Sea (Marina) at the Lithuanian Pavilion


Our highlights from Venice Biennale 2019 (on until 24 November 2019)…

Sun & Sea (Marina), Lithuanian Pavilion – by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė

While in the past art addressing climate change has felt paralysingly scary, the Lithuanian pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale is an exception. Sun & Sea (Marina) is a chilling work about climate change that is also a delightful opera recounting a day at the beach. From a mezzanine gallery you can gaze down on a beach scene complete with swimsuit-clad sunbathers and children playing bat and ball in the sand (35 tons of the stuff, to be exact), who each sing about the woes of the world. Topics range from the everyday, such as nobody cleaning up their rubbish, to more pressing issues, like fears of environmental catastrophe. We stayed for well over 40 minutes, enrapt by this unique, gentle and subtle portrayal of human resignation, self-absorption and laziness. Oh, and it also won the biennale’s top prize: the Golden Lion of the Biennale Arte 2019. 

The opera performance takes place at the Lithuanian Pavilion every Saturday (until 31 October), from 10am-6pm. Note: be prepared to queue.

Red Regatta, by Melissa McGill


Red Regatta, by Melissa McGill

Every trip to Venice is a bit bittersweet. On the one hand, you’re visiting one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, a place where every inlay, cornice, relief and spire is steeped in history. On the other, the city is sinking and you’re part of the problem. Artist Melissa McGill’s Red Regatta project aims to remind Biennale visitors of the damage they’re doing and the threat to Venice from rising sea levels by having a regatta of 50 traditional sailboats with red sails on the waterfront from now until September. We were lucky enough to see this without even planning to – it was breathtakingly beautiful and a reminder that we need to do more to preserve one of the world’s greatest cities.


Other Venice Biennale must-sees…

The Fashion for Good museum, Amsterdam


Fashion for Good, Amsterdam

It’s been getting a lot of Instagram airtime recently – and for good reason: Fashion for Good in central Amsterdam is the world’s first museum dedicated to sustainable fashion innovation and a blueprint for future museums. The beautiful space (kitted out using recycled materials wherever possible) uses a host of new technologies to encourage us to examine our buying behaviour. There’s no escaping the hard-hitting facts, but the focus feels more empowering and celebratory: there are special RFID wristbands (or ‘action bracelets’, made from recycled plastic) to interact with the museum’s action stations and create your own Digital Action Plan, and eco-friendly T-shirts that you can design and print, on the spot. There are also plenty of selfie opportunities along the way – including a kaleidoscopic selfie which forms part of an installation alongside other visitors’ selfies (#smile). This is a next-generation museum at its best.   

Manifesto magazine


Manifesto Magazine

The Earth Issue Magazine, Issue 3 ‘Manifesto’

An artist that uses mould as part of their practice, a chef using food to build a creative and sustainable community, a sculptor who uses basket weaving techniques to explore nature – these are just three of the inspiring creatives whose practice is explored in ‘Manifesto’, the most recent instalment of The Earth Issue. One of the few magazines to really tackle sustainability in an empowering way, their focus on how creatives interact with and learn from the environment has been hugely inspirational for us as we consider our own sustainable future.