V&A Project

17 — 18, 20 — 25 Sept 2022

Graphic Design & Visual Communications, Multi-Disciplinary Design


Cromwell Road

Europe 1600-1815, Room 4, ‘The Globe’





This animated film by DESIGN EARTH imagines what would happen if the whale skeleton at the Natural History Museum came alive and swam in the Thames to demand climate action.

Whale in the Room is a speculative eco-fable that addresses what it is to live and die in the midst of the climate emergency and the sixth mass extinction. The graphic story reanimates Hope, the blue whale skeleton centrepiece at the Natural History Museum to take action on the climate. In her rebellion, the blue whale comes to life, charges out of the Main Hall and swallows the legacies of the ‘Wonders of Industry’, both the material legacies of whaling—the first oil of the Industrial Revolution—as well as the display inheritances of the 1851 Great Exhibition. DESIGN EARTH is a research practice, founded by Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy in 2010. Their work engages the medium of the speculative architectural project to make public the climate crisis. DESIGN EARTH are recipients of the United States Artist Fellowship, Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers, Boghossian Foundation Prize, and ACSA Faculty Design Awards for outstanding work in architecture and related environmental design fields as a critical endeavour.