Lisa Roet’s Bike-Powered Installation at Beijing’s Opposite House

Celebrating Earth Hour, a recently discovered at-risk gibbon lights up the hotel

On the evening of Saturday, 24 March, as Beijing went dark for Earth Hour, a bunch of people climbed on 30 stationary Mobikes parked outside the Opposite House and began cycling. Their pedal power inflated and lit up Australian artist Lisa Roet‘s giant silver Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon perched high on the hotel’s facade, and with this very impressive scene a month-long program of events, discussions and art surrounding bio-sustainability kicked off as the huge ape slowly took life on its perch.

Roet has always put primates into her work, whether it be sculpture, jewelry or installations. She tells us, “Since primates are genetically so close to us and yet so different, I find using them as a very interesting way to reflect upon human nature.” “Skywalker” is her latest collaboration with Beijing’s Opposite House but not the first. In 2016 she displayed a huge, inflatable golden sneezing snub-nose monkey on the hotel’s exterior. For this year’s installation, Roet focused on a particular gibbon type discovered in southwest China and Myanmar just last year (and named for Luke Skywalker). This distinct species’s population in China is believed to be just 200 and the primate faces risk due to deforestation and hunting.

Roet’s gibbon was made in Melbourne in collaboration with designer Felipe Reynold, and is currently on view at the Opposite House (11 Sanlitun Rd, 三里屯 Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi) through 19 April 2018.

Images by Cool Hunting