" /> Leviathan - The Terrarium ← Projects ← UP Projects

Looking ahead 300 years…what have we created? UP Projects is commissioning The Terrarium, a major new virtual reality and digital work by Shezad Dawood  that imagines the future of a connected Baltic and Kent shoreline, for presentation at Kai Art Center (Tallinn, Estonia - September 2020) and the Creative Folkestone Triennial (September 2021). 

It is the second part of Dawood’s Leviathan VR trilogy that will situate audiences 300 years in the future, in which the surface of Planet Earth is 90% water. Dawood imagines the future of a connected Baltic and Kent shoreline where the viewer has been through a series of complex genetic splicing programmes and is now modified into a sophisticated cephalopod hybrid and released from a terrarium into the open seas to explore their surroundings.

Incorporating site responsive references to both the Kent and Estonian coastlines, this immersive experience blends scientific prediction and science fiction to highlight the implications of climate change for our marine ecosystems, and the consequences of rising sea levels for all forms of life.

The Terrarium will be presented at Kai Art Center from September to November 2020 as part of a wider installation entitled Leviathan - the Paljassaare Chapter. 

It will then premiere in the UK as part of Creative Folkestone Triennial September 2021 at Folkestone’s Central Library, presented within Leviathan – The Terrarium, an immersive installation that will include sculpture and a newly commissioned audio work from British composer Graham Fitkin as well as a brand new online component for UP Projects' This Is Public Space digital commissions programme. 

Leviathan is a major 5-year multifaceted project by Shezad Dawood that looks at the relationships between the most urgent issues of our time: the intersection between climate change, migration and mental health. The project originally launched at Venice Biennale in 2017 and comprises a 10-part film, VR trilogy, sculptures, paintings, neons and an exclusive public programme bringing together scientists, philosophers, activists, anthropologists, futurists, oceanographers and paleoclimatologists. Now halfway to completion, with 6 film episodes and the first VR work complete, Levaithan has already exhibited at 6 international institutions, with a further 11 forthcoming. 

The Terrarium by Shezad Dawood (featuring parts of Anthropocene Island TAB17 by ecoLogicStudio and excerpts from Shifter by Graham Fitkin) is commissioned for Kai Arts Center and Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021 by UP Projects. It is supported byTallinn Culture Department, Arts Council England, and CUPIDO a project co-funded by the European Union.

About Shezad Dawood

Shezad Dawood works across disciplines including film, painting, neon, sculpture and, more recently, virtual reality to deconstruct systems of image, language, site and narrative. Using the editing process as a method to explore both meanings and forms, his practice often involves collaboration and knowledge exchange, mapping across geographic borders and communities. Through a fascination with the esoteric, otherness and science-fiction, Dawood interweaves histories, realities and symbolism to create richly layered artworks.   

Shezad Dawood was born in London in 1974 and trained at Central St Martin’s and the Royal College of Art before undertaking a PhD at Leeds Metropolitan University. Dawood is a Research Fellow in Experimental Media at the University of Westminster. He lives and works in London.  

About Creative Folkestone Triennial

Folkestone Triennial is the flagship project of Creative Folkestone and the largest exhibition of newly commissioned work presented in the UK.  Artists are invited to use the town as their gallery, utilising public spaces to create striking new art that reflects issues affecting both the town and the wider world. Four Triennials have taken place attracting more than 440,000 visitors. Artists commissioned include Cornelia Parker, Christian Boltanski, Jeremy Deller, Martin Creed, Mark Wallinger, Cristina Iglesias, Richard Wilson, Andy Goldsworthy and AK Dolven.

Since its inception in 2008 (with Andrea Schlieker as the curator), Folkestone Triennial has rapidly established itself as a significant event in the international calendar of recurring art exhibitions. It has done so by being one of a small number of contemporary art exhibitions that set out to have an effect beyond the art programme itself, changing the character of the place in which they occur. These exhibitions create a spirit of place through their collection of artworks, through changes to the physical environment and especially through changes in the thinking of the communities with which they work. In doing so, they transform a village, a town, a city, a community.

About Kai Arts Centre

Kai Art Center is the cultural heart of the seaside Noblessner harbor complex in Tallinn, Estonia – a fascinating melange of regional history, period-tinged architecture, and modern art and culture. In a century-old former secret submarine plant, visitors will encounter captivating and thought-provoking exhibitions, art, and cinema, four cafés and restaurants, a joint office for cultural organizations, and various venues for hosting events both in Kai’s interior spaces and outdoor sea view areas.

Kai Art Center aims to create an experience-filled cultural quarter that brings the contemporary art experience even closer to the public. Kai brings together artists, art and culture professionals, guests, and aficionados. We consider it important to promote Estonian contemporary art both at home and abroad, and we create ways to expand Estonian artists’ horizons by providing working and exhibition space as well as through international artist-in-residence programs.