The arts, including public-facing works such as The Quiet Enchanting, will play a fundamental role in helping us imagine what is possible, and bring meaning to the changes we are going through to achieve sustainability.Professor Frans Berkhout, Professor of Environment, Society and Climate at King’s College London
07 September 2023
New installation on the Strand will imagine a climate-positive mythical world
Acclaimed design studio Superflux and King’s Culture present 'The Quiet Enchanting', an installation inspired by King’s climate and sustainability research
Acclaimed design studio Superflux and King’s Culture have today announced 'The Quiet Enchanting', an installation of digitally generated artworks that will be displayed along the newly pedestrianised Strand Aldwych on King's Strand Campus from 18 October 2023.
As visitors walk along the Strand, 'The Quiet Enchanting' will place them in a speculative world where the surrounding Borough of Westminster has been rewilded. A series of digital screens and printed artworks installed on the external façade of Bush House South West Wing, will imagine a mythic time of ecological abundance, where Westminster is in harmony with the natural world. The project has been inspired by Superflux’s ‘Cascade Inquiry’ research initiative, based on a year-long residency and conversations with researchers across King’s and developed with King's Culture.
'The Quiet Enchanting' draws inspiration from The Great Resignation, the economic trend in which employees resigned from their jobs en masse during the COVID-19 pandemic. This moment marked a transformation from mass disillusionment with the status quo, to a rewilding of the soul, and city, through sustained care and ecological cultivation. In Superflux’s mythic world, culture and nature are no longer separated, but rather adapted to collaboratively thrive.
An in-depth, deep-listening inquiry at King's
In preparation for the work, Superflux conducted an in-depth, deep-listening inquiry to surface insights and encourage imaginings from across the King’s community, which have been re-interpreted into speculative scenes in reference to pre-modern poetics, pagan folklore, animist societies and belief-systems. A context board included in the installation will shed light on the multidisciplinary academic research that has fed into this vision.
“At King’s, we are committed to embedding climate and sustainability into everything we do", said Professor Frans Berkhout, Professor of Environment, Society and Climate at King’s. "We want to contribute to understanding of the climate and nature crisis; we want to empower our students to take action and we have a commitment to achieve net zero as an organisation. At its heart, this is a cultural transformation, and the arts, including public-facing works such as 'The Quiet Enchanting', will play a fundamental role in helping us imagine what is possible, and bring meaning to the changes we are going through to achieve sustainability.”
'The Quiet Enchanting' supports King’s Climate and Sustainability action plan, which seeks to accelerate climate research, education and action across the University with the aim of influencing climate adaption and enabling just and fair transitions to net zero. The pedestrianised Strand Aldwych, which transformed one of the capital’s most congested and polluted streets running through King’s Strand Campus, will provide a new ‘creative thinking quarter’ for students and the wider public.
We spent a year investigating the knotty complexity of the climate crisis through intersecting lenses of neuroscience, geography, governance, economics and more. Our conversations with academics, researchers and policy-makers, made apparent the need for positive imaginaries and guiding narrative visions.Superflux, led by Anab Jain and Jon Ardern
Inviting imaginings and wonder
“Thanks to the generosity and support of the team at King’s Culture, and the wider King's community, we spent a year investigating the knotty complexity of the climate crisis through intersecting lenses of neuroscience, geography, governance, economics and more. Our conversations with academics, researchers and policy-makers, made apparent the need for positive imaginaries and guiding narrative visions. We also heard a unanimous call for interdisciplinary thinking that speaks to our interdependence not just across sectors, but across species and with our planet. And from that emerged the idea of 'The Quiet Enchanting': a mythic journey into deep transformation, within ourselves and the city around us. Rather than portray a direct picture of one possible future, 'The Quiet Enchanting' poses questions to invite imaginings and wonder. We ask: How do we rewild ourselves? And, could rewilding ourselves change the world?”, added Superflux, led by Anab Jain and Jon Ardern.
Working with the pioneering studio Superflux on The Quiet Enchanting has enabled us to bring new perspectives to leading climate research at King’s and create a space for possibility on the Strand – to reflect, imagine and renew.Beatrice Pembroke, Executive Director of King's Culture, King’s College London
Collaborators from across the King's community
‘Cascade Inquiry’ collaborating researchers from across King’s included Helen Adams, Senior Lecturer in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, George Adamson, Reader in Climate and Society, Frans Berkhout, Professor of Environment, Society and Climate, Maud Borie, Lecturer in Environment, Science & Society, Megan Bowman, Professor of Climate Law and Director of the Centre for Climate Law & Governance, Kris De Meyer, Research Fellow in Neuroscience at the Department of Neuroimaging and a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Geography, Adriana Ford, Centre Manager for the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, Rowan Gard, Lecturer in Human Geography and Sustainability (Education), Suzanne Hall, Director of Engagement, King’s Policy Institute, Duraid Jalili, Lecturer in Defence Studies, Emily Kasriel, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, King’s Policy Institute, Mark Mulligan, Professor of Physical & Environmental Geography, and Daanish Mustafa, Professor in Critical Geography.
Students from King’s and beyond further contributed to the investigation, including representatives from Brunel University, the Greater London Authority, Somerset House, Northbank BID, UK’s Policy Lab, University College London, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), University of Cambridge, University of Oslo and Westminster City Council.
“Despite conclusive scientific evidence, it is still difficult for us to fully connect with the scale of the climate crisis and the actions that we need to take – big and small – to avoid further planetary destruction," said Beatrice Pembroke, Executive Director of King's Culture. "Imagining a way of life that feels sustainable for our planet and positive for individuals requires a huge shift in mindset and behaviour; a radical rethinking of what we hold dear. Working with the pioneering studio Superflux on The Quiet Enchanting has enabled us to bring new perspectives to leading climate research at King’s and create a space for possibility on the Strand – to reflect, imagine and renew.”