WE ARE WATCHING is a flag the size of a 10-storey building. On it is a monumental eye, made up of thousands of portraits contributed from 190 countries - almost every nation in the world. The flag will be raised directly over key global climate events to hold leaders accountable as they decide the future of our planet. The message couldn’t be clearer: from here on in, the eyes of the world are upon you.
2019 marked a turning point in citizens’ engagement with the climate crisis. Young and old rose up in powerful, coordinated movements across the world to demand urgent climate action. The portraits on the current flag were uploaded during this time, putting a face to the voices of climate protectors around the globe. The flag's first tour of duty was the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, which gathered hundreds of representatives from 196 countries. They were there to commit to radical environmental targets. 7.7 billion people awaited decisive action; the whole world was watching.
The We Are Watching flag was carried by the crowd at the end of the 500,000-people-strong March for Climate, where artivist Dan Acher presented the project on stage just before Greta Thunberg and Javier Bardem spoke there. The event was streamed live on national Spanish TV channels.
As the summit drew to a close, the faces of We Are Watching were brought into the COP25’s Green Zone over Fridays For Future leaders @xiyebeara and @saoioconnor, as they spoke about the disconnect between what the science requires and what the climate negotiations were delivering.
The flag is now evolving and continuing its journey to climate events around the world, keeping the eyes of the world firmly on decision-makers.
Creator Dan Acher is an artivist, Ashoka Fellow and the founder of Happy City Lab. At the center of his work is art as generator of social change across local and global communities. Dan uses cities as playgrounds to create a sense of belonging; his large-scale installations create spaces where strangers come together and connect beyond their differences. Dan is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and is also the creator of BOREALIS, The Northern Lights on Demand.