18 September 2008

Into the future...

"The International Date Line is an awkward nineteenth century device conceived to manage the complexities of modern time, travel and global geography - it is the boundary line between 'today' and 'tomorrow'. Drawn through what was conveniently thought of as an 'empty' ocean, it is a haphazard broken line marked by cartographers on geographical and nautical charts. It is an intangible phenomenon, unbound by international law. The theoretical line is around 180 degrees from GREENWICH, formulated in 1884 as an agreement between commercial steamships of the principal maritime countries of the time. Shifts have occurred for practical reasons over the years, the most recent in 1995 to cluster all 33 small atolls in the nation of KIRIBATI into the same time zone.

"As early as the thirteenth century, mention was made of lost days in the region by the Syrian geographer-historian Abu 'I-Fida. In 1519 Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian chronicler of the first circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan, mentioned a peculiar incident that occurred during the voyage whereby somewhere a whole day was apparently 'lost'. In Jules Verne's 'Around the World in 80 Days' 1873, Phileas Fogg learns that by moving eastwards he gains a day and thereby wins the prize. In Umberto Eco's 'The Island of the Day Before' 1994, the seventeenth century shipwrecked Italian protagonist reminiscences on his life and loves and becomes convinced that all his troubles will dissolve, if only he could cross the nearby Date Line."

Rhana Devenport, Date Line: Between Today and Tomorrow, in Date Line catalogue, 2007.

Why did the line cross the road...? Here is the PRIME MERIDIAN ARCH on the road to Barcelona, Spain.

Image: Looking like a cross between a Bill Culbert and a Gordon Matta Clark installation, this is the Greenwich observatory with its viewing aperture open for business.

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Art from Space is an exploration of art-related phenomena that manifests in interesting ways on Google’s aerial maps. It is also an experiment in curatorial practice; collecting, presenting and contextualising items in ways that users can explore, free of curator-imposed framing and sequencing. This blog is Art from Space’s developmental musings made public, where items are introduced to the project in real time, rather than awaiting the grand unveiling of a completed exhibition. Specific locations of interest are highlighted in CAPS and linked to a map for further exploration. Visit the mother ship HERE.