In Copenhagen, an exhibition of Google Earth images reminds us to “Mind the Earth”

Can logging be beautiful? Seen from above, it creates the most delicate patterns, but the story behind it is scary:  large parts of the rain forest are disappearing every day. The upcoming exhibition “Mind the Earth” at the Danish Architecture Centre shows the Earth’s transformation, using selected photos from Google Earth, providing insights into how diverse, resilient, but also vulnerable our planet is.

There is something deeply fascinating about seeing the Earth from above. Suddenly you notice things you were not previously aware of. From an altitude of 10 km, landscapes and settlements create patterns, which we have no idea that we are part of. Then, when we zoom in, it becomes clear that every place and every region has its own unique character and story. “Mind the Earth,” which opens on Nov. 20, zooms both in and out, as each of the selected photos from Google Earth tells its own unique story about the state of the Earth: from scattered island communities to megacities and huge agricultural areas, which have to provide food for an ever-growing population.

Says Martin Winther, experience communication manager, Danish Architecture Centre, “In addition to being stunningly beautiful, these photos also show some of the transformations, which globalization, urbanization and climate change are currently creating. Visitors to the exhibition will be thrilled and amazed by the Earth’s diversity, but at the same time reminded that the Earth’s resources are not infinite, and that we have a joint obligation to look after what we have.”

The exhibition will deal with four main themes, all focussed on living and inhabiting: food, energy, transport and water. Through those themes the exhibition will examine what the future looks like for people, cities and landscapes: what are we going to live on? How will we get from A to B? And where will our resources come from?

“Mind the Earth, mind it. Earth. My planet. Where I come from. I come from Earth. Mind that. Remind me about it” – From the text “Mind the Earth” by Morten Søndergaard

In the exhibition, visitors will enter a dark room with photos, which light up on the floor. The evolution over the course of time will be emphasized by displaying the same subject at different moments. Each photo will be accompanied by surprising facts and thought-provoking philosophy.

The exhibition is the result of a close collaboration between the architect/urban planner, Kasper Brejnholt Bak from Rambøll, and the writer, Morten Søndergaard, each of whom has his own personal approach to the photos: on one hand, the architect’s descriptive, factual point of view; on the other, the writer’s poetic, philosophical one. Together they will create sympathetic insight into the universe of the images, suggesting what our world looks like at the moment, and what it might end up looking like in the future.

Says Kasper Brejnholt Bak, “As an urban planner, I am very interested in how globalization and urbanisation have created a number of new preconditions for the way, in which we must conceive towns and cities in the future. I hope that the juxtaposition of these graphically beautiful, aerial photographs and specific knowledge about the way we manage the Earth’s resources can stimulate thought about how each and every one of us is a vital component in the overall pattern.”


For some time now, Google Earth has proved its worth as a new democratic tool for viewing and learning about our planet. But the really interesting question is: can a technological resource such as Google Earth provide us with new insights about the world we live in and maybe even help us change it? The exhibition “Mind the Earth” tacklees this question with its combination of texts and selected photos from Google Earth. The exhibition is supported by Realdania and Rambøll.

“Mind the Earth is on show from Nov. 20, 2104, through Jan. 11, 2015. at the Danish Architecture Centre.

Kasper Brejnholt Bak is senior city planner at Rambøll. Kasper initiated the exhibition and has for a long time collected the photos from Google Earth that are exhibited. He has been involved in a number of planning projects around the world. and has created regional development plans, master plans, infrastructural analyses etc.

Morten Søndergaard is an author and cand.phil. in literature from The University of Copenhagen. He debuted in 1992 with the poem collection “Sahara i mine hænder” (Sahara in my hands) and had his breakthrough in 1998 with “Bier dør sovende” (Bees Die While Sleeping). Apart from his work as an author, Søndergaard also works as a translator and sound artist. He has been nominated for the The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize in 2003 and 2007.

The Danish Architecture Centre (DAC) is Denmark’s national centre for the development and dissemination of knowledge about architecture, building and urban development. Our goal is to create broad interest in architecture, to clear the way for new ideas traversing traditional boundaries and to show how architecture creates cultural and economic assets for people, the industry and society. We offer a wide range of professional and cultural activities, including exhibitions, professionalization, seminars, guided tours in the city, etc. Most of the projects we carry out are performed in conjunction with Danish and international partners who share our visions.

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