Museum of London 1 October 2010 – 6 March 2011

Museum of London 1 October 2010 – 6 March 2011
A display of 14 arresting photomontages imagining how London could be affected by climate change will be on display at the Museum of London from 1 October 2010 to 6 March 2011. Like postcards from the future, familiar views of the capital have been digitally transformed by illustrators Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones. They bring home the full impact of global warming, food scarcity, rising sea levels and how all Londoners will need to innovate and adapt to survive. Parliament Square put to work as a rice paddy, ice skating down the Thames, Buckingham Palace surrounded by a sea of shanty housing and the Gherkin occupied by thousands of eco-refugees are among the shocking realities we could face.
Cathy Ross, Director of Collections and Learning at the Museum of London, said: ‘For most of us climate change is the kind of thing that might happen somewhere else. These beautiful pictures of London, luminous on lightboxes, have enormous impact and really challenge the viewer to confront how climate change could shape London and their own life in the city.’ Didier Madoc-Jones said: ‘We want to create a space in which people can consider how climate change may affect their lives. We are committed to making beautiful and arresting images, which tell their own story. We have deliberately chosen ‘postcard’ shots of London, places that all of us are familiar with. By focusing our creative energy on these well known panoramas the images have taken on a life of their own. Even we were surprised by the way the story unfolded as the scene was created. Each picture has become a mini soap opera, alive with colour, drama, triumph and adversity as our city is transformed and Londoners adapt to meet this change.’ Robert Graves said: ‘We endeavour to make the works both flawless and beautiful. When the images are flawless the medium becomes transparent and the stories become clear; when they are beautiful you are encouraged and inspired by looking at them. The creative and production process takes several weeks for each image. Concepts and ideas they are tested with rough mock ups and background shots. Once we feel confident that an image will work we rebuild from scratch. Most require using a combination of 3D software, background photography and digital painting in Photoshop. Final hurdles involve checking that the pieces stand up visually and technically as large scale exhibition images.’ Charlie Kronick, senior climate advisor for Greenpeace, said: ‘If we’re going to tackle climate change, then we’re going to have to tackle our addiction to oil. And forget about Houston or Dallas, there’s a real oil town just down the road from the Museum of London. The money in the City of London, and in many people’s pension funds, keeps the oil flowing, not just in the Gulf of Mexico, but in the Arctic, west of Shetland and in the tar sands of Canada. If we’re going to keep oil out of the most fragile environments on earth, then we’re going to have get oil out of the City as well.’
The display and related events form part of the Mayor’s Story of London Festival and the events are funded by Renaissance London. The exhibition was designed by Madoc Architecture. 7814 5511

Postcards from the Future, a postcard booklet of the photomontages will be available in the Museum of London shop for £8.

The Mall – royal power London as Venice
London has become uninhabitable. Every year spring tides surge through the Thames Barrier, making London the new Venice. But whereas the city of gondolas has come to terms with water, London is overwhelmed. This image shows the impact of six-metre flooding, the level required to breach the Thames Barrier.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones Background photography © Jason Hawkes

That archetypal British driveway the Mall, has become a wind-farm. Wind turbines tower over flags, as the desperate quest for renewable energy takes precedence over any remaining notions of Britishness. Cars? Now what on earth were they? Wind farms are usually associated with bleak moors, distant hillsides or far away patches of sea. But will we see more in our own back yards, even royal ones?
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones 7814 5511

Piccadilly Circus – a haven of calm
London’s busiest urban hub becomes a haven of calm as water levels rise ever higher. Water lilies, fish and wind turbines drift quietly in the breeze, amid empty buildings which are only left standing to support the infrastructure of power generation. Civilisation as we know it has gone. As land masses around the globe sink, so water levels are pushed even higher. London remains vulnerable to rising sea levels.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones

Hyde Park – palm oil
London’s open spaces resemble tropical plantations. The cost of food production is rising and cultivatable land is becoming scarce. More and more of London’s parks and green spaces are given over to industrial-scale agriculture. Palm oil is harvested in Hyde Park to meet our changing energy needs. The Hyde Park Hilton was designed as an urban landmark but does not look out of place as a tropical resort hotel.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones 7814 5511

Glacial Thames
As the Arctic warms up, the Gulf Stream starts to slow and temperatures in the UK plummet. Winters become unbearably harsh. Never mind hell freezing over, the Thames does it every winter. When the thaw comes, the city floods – a tediously predictable event for long-suffering Londoners. The frozen Thames is both romantic and frightening. It happened regularly in the 16th century when painters recorded the delightful scenes. But this time long-term ice is building up.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones

Notting Hill Carnival
The Notting Hill Carnival is still going strong. But being out in the sun is now a death-trap. Every carnival-goer is given standardissue blue sun-block to protect every inch of exposed skin. Health and safety gone mad, or gone sensible? At least we’re all the same colour. The ozone layer protects the Earth from the Sun’s rays but is much thinner than it used to be. Banning the use of CFC gasses has stabilised the layer, for now. But how long –will it last?
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones 7814 5511

‘The Gherkin’
The iconic City office tower is now high-rise housing. Originally converted into luxury flats, the block soon slid down the social scale to become a high-density, multi-occupation tower block. The Gherkin now worries the authorities as a potential slum. Refugees from equatorial lands have moved north in search of food. They make their homes in the buildings that once drove world finance – before the collapse of the global economy.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones

Parliament Square rice paddies
This view across Parliament Square shows paddy fields running up to the walls of the Palace of Westminster. The land that once housed political protest is now part of the city’s food production effort. In this scenario London has adapted to rising water tables in radical ways. Managed flooding is now the name of the game, as is selfsufficiency in food. Central London is a network of rice paddies – and Londoners’ diet is largely rice-based.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones 7814 5511

Trafalgar Square shanty town
Nelson looks down on a shanty town of climate refugees. As the equatorial belt becomes uninhabitable, so people are driven north in search of food and security. People settle wherever they can and many reach London. This is the political dilemma of the day for all European countries. The numbers are overwhelming. London’s strategy is to cluster the new arrivals in the historic centre, rather than spread them through the suburbs, where most Londoners now live.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones

Buckingham Palace shanty town
The climate refugee crisis reaches epic proportions. The vast shanty town that stretches across London’s centre leaves historic buildings marooned, including Buckingham Palace. The royal family is surrounded in their London home. Everybody is on the move and the flooded city centre is now uninhabitable and empty – apart from the thousands of shanty-dwellers. But should empty buildings and land be opened up to climate refugees?
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones Background photography © Jason Hawkes 7814 5511

Kew nuclear power Station
The sunset over Kew Gardens catches London’s brand new nuclear power station on the banks of the Thames. Nuclear power is now widely accepted as the only viable alternative to fossil fuels. Expert opinion confirms that new power stations are best located near the populations they serve and architects strive to create new ‘harmonious’ landmarks. This is nothing new for London, which has a tradition of siting its power stations centrally: Battersea, for example.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones Background photography © Jason Hawkes

Camel Guards Parade
Traditional rituals have altered beyond recognition, along with the climate. Here, on Horse Guards Parade, horses have been replaced by camels – animals that can withstand the heat of the parade ground. The change was controversial but the London Tourist Board argued strongly in favour. Tourism remains important for London’s economy.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones 7814 5511

Thames tidal power
The river remains a focus of power generation, just as it was for the great coal-powered power stations of old. Around the old Thames Barrier a number of new tidal power stations are using the tidal flows up and down the Thames to generate electricity for thousands of London businesses and homes.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones Background photography © Jason Hawkes

Skating at Tower Bridge
As the Gulf Stream slows a mini ice age brings temporary relief to heat-weary Londoners. Winter skating becomes London’s most popular sport and Tower Bridge is a favourite spot. The scene harks back to the 17th century when artists loved to paint London’s Frost Fairs. Then, the Thames froze over because the river flowed sluggishly. Now, the river flows quickly but every winter the temperature falls to new lows.
Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones Background photography © Jason Hawkes 7814 5511

Story of London Events at Museum of London – Booking on 020 7001 9844 Story of London late
Friday 1 October: 6.00 – 10.00pm Come along to an evening of innovation, inspiration and social history as the Museum hosts a late night opening highlighting London’s history as a centre of innovation and exploring what the future may have in store for this great city. To celebrate the launch of the 2010 Story of London Festival and our new exhibition ‘London Futures’, the Museum will offer free tours and activities alongside open galleries, live music and a bar – all based on the theme ‘Innovation and the Future’. Free

Service’s Digital Planet and Lecturer in Science Communication at Imperial College London. Sir Crispin Tickell is currently Director of the Policy Foresight Programme at Oxford University and Chairman of the Trustees of the St Andrew’s Prize for the Environment. Advanced booking required £5/£3 concessions

Notes to Editors
The Museum of London, Museum of London Docklands and Museum of London Archaeology seek to inspire a passion for London. The Museums are open daily 10am – 6pm and are FREE to all. For more information, interviews of images, please contact or call 020 7814 5511 Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones are founder directors of GMJ ( a cutting-edge digital illustration group commissioned by magazines, designers, architects and urban planners throughout the city. For more information on the exhibition please see The Story of London is organised by the Mayor of London in partnership with a host of organisations across the capital. It takes place from 1-10 October and is designed to offer new experiences and insights into the capital, historically, culturally and socially. This year’s theme is Innovation and the Future. It aims to inform, entertain, educate and inspire, with dozens of events and activities covering history and heritage, art and architecture, design and fashion, music, theatre and film. More information can be found at Press information is available from Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071 or email Renaissance London is a partnership of four museum services working closely with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to deliver the Renaissance in the Regions programme of investment in England’s regional museums. Renaissance London works to invest in and transform the 250 or so nonnational museums in London. This is done through providing a comprehensive service to schools, supporting a range of projects designed to demonstrate how museum collections are vital in communities, improving the regions collections and expanding the diversity of collections. Renaissance London is also engaged in building and engaging new audiences and is leading on London’s Stories of the World project, which is part of the Cultural Olympiad for London 2012. The museums supported by Renaissance London to take part in the Story of London festival are: Museum of London; Horniman Museum; Geffrye Museum; London Transport Museum; Bruce Castle Museum; Orleans House Gallery; London SHH (Benjamin Franklin House, Burgh House, Dr Johnson’s House, Freud Museum, Handel House Museum and Kelmscott House); Church Farmhouse; Eastside Community Heritage; Handel House Museum; Greenwich Heritage Centre; Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons; Valance House Museum; Bromley Museum. regions/london

Goodbye London

London Futures: Business, industry and climate change

Friday 1 October: 18.30am – 20.00pm Watch a discussion chaired by BBC Radio 4’s Quentin Cooper on how business and industry can do more to help combat climate change. The panel consists of influential climate change experts; Bruce Halai-Carter, founder of The Green Desk; and Charlie Kronick, Senior Climate Advisor for Greenpeace UK. Advanced booking required £5/£3 concessions

Saturday 9 October: 11.30am – 6:00pm Imagine a London of the future on the brink of apocalypse. Join Shoot Experience at the Museum of London to photographically document our dying city. Explore London’s streets in teams, returning with your findings to create one final time capsule of our days. Costumes very welcome – think end of the world / futuristic (Mad Max, Children of Men, 28 days later…) Log on to Advanced booking essential £15/£10 concessions

The Big Draw: Mapping London’s future

28 Days Later (2002), 18

Sunday 3 October: 2.00pm Set in an England ravaged by the onset of a deadly virus Danny Boyle’s 2002 film is famous for its eerie shots of deserted London landmarks. 28 Days Later centres on the experience of motorcycle courier Jim, played by Cillian Murphy, who wakes from a coma to discover the population have been infected by a virus that turns humans into blood thirsty predators. Free

Sunday 10 October: 11.00am – 4pm Add to a futuristic fantasy map of London inspired by our London Futures exhibition and the hand-drawn maps collected by the Londonist website. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Campaign for Drawing’s Big Draw, come and make your mark on a large- scale map of London to show how you think the city might look in years to come. The resulting work will be displayed on the Museum’s website throughout October. All materials provided. In partnership with The Big Draw. Free

London Futures: Didier Madoc-Jones and Robert Graves

London Futures: In conversation with Sir Crispin Tickell and Gareth Mitchell

Tuesday 5 October: 6.30pm Join one of the most respected environmentalists of our age, Sir Crispin Tickell, as he discusses climate change with Gareth Mitchell, presenter of BBC World

Tuesday 2 November: 6.30pm Didier Madoc-Jones and Robert Graves talk about the research, inspiration and motivation behind their breathtaking images from the London Futures exhibition. Madoc-Jones and Graves, from creative communications company GMJ, explain why they were moved to produce the London Futures exhibition and how their complex digital images were created. Advanced booking required – Free 7814 5511

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