19 April 2010

Cass revisited

Since Art From Space was first conceived, we've wanted to try find famous landscapes from art history but never got around to it. Rita Angus' Cass seemed an obvious starting point. With the advent of street view, the opportunity is even there to try replicate that view.

In a much more physical manner, fellow blogger Cheryl Bernstein has beaten us to it, impressively driving through the Port Hills of Christchurch to locate the view Doris Lusk once painted for her Canterbury Plains from Cashmere Hills, 1952. Cheryl's first stop is HERE, where you get a glimpse of the distinctive valley, but the later view is strangely missing from the streetview map. From above looking left from Victoria Park, this is the view HERE, although THIS topographical version might be of interest, given the association to McCahon's interest in geomorphology.

Bernstein also mentions that Christchurch Art Gallery is embarking on a geotagging project for their collection, an activity growing in popularity with photographers (and museums), although the CAG link doesn't work and we can't find any further information on their website. Nevertheless, we presume these two lithographs by Graham Bennett won't have posed much problem, being respectively situated HERE and HERE.

Incidentally, the little blue train icon marks the location of CASS, depicted in a number of works, including some by other artists including Peter Peryer and Julian Dashper.

PS. Christchurch Art Gallery librarian Tim Jones, has kindly provided a link to their collection website where you can browse those works that still need to be geotagged. If you browse the rest of their collection, you'll find other works that make reference to specific places already have a geotagged google link. We couldn't resist looking around some more and discovered that these two Rita Angus works are depictions of THIS building. And we'd like to add that this painting is of Sam Hunt's old PUHA PALACE.

Image: Canterbury Plains from the Port Hills, sourced here.

11 April 2010


A recent Herald article reports the curious case of islands disappearing with significant political implications, a tale that Cleo Paskal also tells in her new book, Global Warming: How Environmental, Economic, and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map.

Exhibit A is Bermeja, supposed to be HERE but mysteriously missing since 1997, potentially affecting where Mexico can set its 200 nautical-mile economic zone from.

Exhibit B is New Moore Island, or South Talpatti to those in Bangladesh, who claim it belongs to them and not to India. (If you do a search for New Moore Island on Google Maps, you get no results but a suggestion that you're looking for "New Moore Island, Bangladesh", seemingly indicating Google's political preference.) It is still marked on the map HERE, where a blue smudgey area suggests that it has been airbrushed out, although this may also be from the added resolution in this spot due to the attention it has received.

Although Bermeja and New Moore are unoccupied and purely of geo-political interest, they set interesting precedents for other island nations, including TUVALU, KIRIBATI and the MALDIVES, whose occupants may need to be resettled if their homes also disappear.
Image: An 1846 map showing the Mexican island of Bermeja

6 April 2010

Traces of a conspiracy

Exhibition announcement:

"In an information-based age, the ability to search and organize information amounts to power. Search engines shape knowledge, modulate web traffic, and contribute to the creation of new semantics and meanings. Currently, Google's influence is unparalleled. It has expanded the way that we search and find information, and inserted itself into nearly every web-based activity.

"The selection of projects in Google Art, or How to Hack Google illuminate and critique the influence of this expanding online institution. The projects include ad hacks that attempt to foil Google's seemingly unstoppable business machinery, playful re-interpretations of search results and alterations of its geographical worldview. Together, they elevate and critique Google's logic, while recognizing its own deepening relationship with our culture, behavior and lives."

Curated by Ana Otero for Rhizome, October 2007.

Included in Google Art, or How to Hack Google is Gregory Chatonsky's Traces of a Conspiracy (2006), which "combines Google Maps Satellite Images, Flickr Photos and found text to produce a generative narrative. Through zooming, panning and flashing, the piece evokes the paranoid and breathless tone of a conspiracy theory while leading its audience through a limitless dialog picked from random text found on the internet."

Also included is Escoitar.org, "an open, collaborative project that encourages the addition of recorded soundscapes onto online maps. Enabled by a hack of the popular Google Maps program, Escoitar.org (meaning 'Listen' in Galician language) was inspired by a particular desire to preserve the acoustic patrimony of GALICIA, a region in the Northwest of Spain. Through the visual network between locations and accompanying sounds, Escoitar.org allows people to understand landscapes, not only visually as places, but also via their autochthonous sounds."

Image: still from Gregory Chatonsky's Traces of a conspiracy (2006)


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.