Earth perspectives, 3/9: The Earth viewed over Yakutia, Siberia

Olafur Eliasson2020

Serpentine Galleries

Serpentine Galleries
London , United Kingdom

3/9: The Earth viewed over Yakutia, Siberia 

At the centre of the Earth view above is Yakutia, in north-eastern Siberia, Russia. Rising temperatures are thawing permafrost in this remote region, deforming landscapes, releasing large quantities of methane, and disrupting animal migration patterns. The Arctic, which encircles a substantial part of Siberia, including the remote Yakutia region, is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, which means that permafrost is not so permanent anymore. Permafrost covers about two thirds of Siberia and 90 percent of Yakutia, so thawing in this part of the world is far-reaching. As the earth softens, it reveals ancient megafauna with the fur still intact. Sudden geologic shifts induce massive underground chambers of gas to burp to the surface and then crater with little warning. Dwindling indigenous tribes face little choice but to uproot their villages, ravaged by ever more intense spring flooding.

Siberia has long been a familiar, often pejorative, synonym for extreme remoteness – Yakutia even more so within Russia. Its place name alone used to be a prison sentence for humans, but over the last century it has shifted from a terminus of exile to a home of de facto sanctuary – for both wildlife and indigenous cultures. As Yakutia is further threatened and transformed by global warming, so too will these unique pockets of life.


  • Title: Earth perspectives, 3/9: The Earth viewed over Yakutia, Siberia
  • Creator: Olafur Eliasson
  • Date Created: 2020

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