Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 1985 / Lives and works in Baku, Azerbaijan
Leyla Aliyeva leads us into a space surrounded by trees, the very heart of some natural habitats. Yet in this extraordinary forest, the high tidewater of Venice’s canal spills into the space, enacting the rising lagoon levels wrought by global warming, and underscoring the city’s – and our planet’s – fragility. Subdued lighting and the sound of a beating heart intensifies both the intimacy of the encounter, and the sensation of life all around us that we experience in this stylised forest. Tree roots, the force of life, spring from the ground and recur in the ceiling’s pattern, emblematising the earth’s trees and living organisms. While the roots may hint at our role in deforestation for housing, urbanisation, and agriculture, the beating heart reminds us of nature’s renewal, and of our power to propel reforestation worldwide. As cities, technology, and pollution expand, Aliyeva’s appeal for nature’s protection implies the challenges facing today’s – and tomorrow’s – scientists. The concerns underpinning Life introduce the exciting projects animating the IDEA Laboratory, where scientists and artists re-conceive the natural world and its future.