Earthkinology II: Binoculars For Gazing Into Lime Trees is a participatory public sculpture with hand-made binoculars and integrated storytelling that allows one to access up close the microcosm of a lime tree, all while hearing the tree’s perspective on their urban life.

Earthkinology is a series of three place-based interactive public art installations made out of waste materials. The sculptures have embedded optical elements and audio storytelling that engage passers-by with the often-unnoticed characters within urban ecosystems. Serving as colourful “human bait”, the sculptures capture the attention of the busy public and direct it towards local ecological beings – lichen, lime tree or common roach fish, expanding the viewer’s perception of the city to include other ecological worldviews and providing a space for these ecological neighbours to speak to us. Through this diversion of attention and world expansion through storytelling, the project encourages the de-centralization of the human exceptionalism within the city bounds and stimulates the formation of interspecies kinship and empathy bonds with our more-than-human urban neighbours.

Made out of solely composite waste and second-hand materials: newspaper, wire, plaster, epoxy resin, paint, varnish

The sculpture has been initially made for the graduate showcase of MA Material Futures and has been widely exhibited around Walthamstow and Hackney public spaces, as well as in front of Tate Britain as part of Carnival of Crisis, Climate Emergency Network’s response to COP.

More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities and by 2060 further 10% are projected to make the move. With this rapid metropolitan and industrial development, along with city dwellers’ increasingly frantic pace of life, urban nature has more often than not been either diminished or made invisible. The global experience of Coronavirus pandemic though has for once provided a different perspective, giving many the never taken before opportunity to explore their local bioregions. Citizens’ interests are slowly coming back to the nearby green. And as nature connected people are more prone to adopt pro-environmental empathetic behaviours, this comes as a hopeful step towards building a climate change resilient culture. But how do we sustain and deepen this revived interest post-pandemic now that the pace of city life has picked up again?

Earthkinology II is a participatory sculpture made out of composite waste materials that engages the public with the rooted beings present in the city. Using an array of storytelling and sensory invitations, the experience asks the viewers to pause amidst their day, to take notice of fellow kin all around and explore what this anthropocentric world might look and feel like from their perspective.

The project combines imaginary, backed up by science fact and traditional indigenous and ecological knowledge, to build up possible narratives from the perspective of other species, exploring new ways to access, bond and empathise with our more-than-human urban neighbours.

Earthkinology is a grassroots movement masked by public entertainment encouraging new way of engaging and deepening of a collective sense of kinship with and connection to local natural ecosystems for the local public. The project is an effort towards further de-centering of the human exceptionalism so prevalent in our city culture with ambition to contribute to the much necessary shift towards interspecies relationship building and ecocentric ways of perceiving and being.

Listen to the wisdom of The Lime Tree aka Tilia or Linden. These ancient beings are hermaphrodites of many names with heart-shaped leaves, and have come to Earth over 70 million years ago and have settled on this spot here in 1869. “You, our younger siblings, have evolved your bodies with us by your side. We are interconnected in way more ways than you think. Of course, first things first – we complete our photosynthesizing mission without a doubt, even in this increasingly dusty polluted smog. Our outbreath is your in-breath. Your outbreath is our food. Because of us, this patch of land, this square is such a haven, a breath of fresh air amidst the bustle. But what you might not know is that throughout all your existence on this planet, you have intuitively turned to us as key holders of medicine. Your inner system is so attuned to us and to our healing gifts, that for ailment of every single body part of yours, there is a body part of ours that can cure and soothe. Our flowers, stems, leaves, roots, bark can cure your cardiovascular, digestive, mental health, urinary, fever and headache disbalances. You and me are interwoven and tied to each other through thousands of years long ancestral bonds of care.


Created & produced by

Alisa Ruzavina

Video by

Xuan Sinden and Maël Hénaf

Photography by

Xuan Sinden

Engineering by 

Konstantin Busarev

Project Assistance:

Beam, Bryan o Ryan, Igor Ruzavin, Jaky Swish, Edie Flowers, Shannon Craik, Bibi Baker, Christine Moon, Robbie Winstanley, Niccolo Binda, Nikita Snegirjov, Varvara Ivanova, Rosie Gearty, Jack Hoban, Katherine Alice, Noel Oganyan, Valeria Nicolucci, Frankie Strand, Jess Bruno, Celia Calderon Asensio, Fai West, Liz Tonheim, Jan Catmouse, Sky Waters, Ivan, Carmen Cordwell-Tuck, Paulina Lenoir Guajardo; Paloma Grimm, Trixie, Jess and Charlotte from CSM BA Fine Art and CSM technicians – Savvas Papasavva, Joel Wycherley and Rachel Mandley.