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


walter stahl said...

'Dear Art from Space,'

I got here from eyeCONTACT, where i got from googling Peter Madden's artwork, after having seen his current show at the IMA Brisbane, Queensland. There,just so you know

I am commenting here, because of the nature of this blog in conjunction with Kiribati. Two friends of mine just set off to live there for three months, in their aspects as artists, to do a project/artworks relating to it's imminent,inevitable [?] drowning.
Their departure, and talking to one of them on the phone a few days back, prompted me to scan Kiribati's main island via google maps. Before that I had NO idea it existed, and where it was. You also only went with the 'google maps' search for kiribati, it seems, which lands you on christmas island...
Apparently, most of the 95,000 Kiribis, however live on Bonriki, the largest of the 35[or so] islands. Onto which I looked and got sucked RIGHT in, 'Photos, Videos' and all: I looked at/on/over the entire island, and could easily identify what I thought must be coco palm plantations [next to fishing the main 'primary industry'], as one can identify single trees, planted orderly in grid fashion, like any monocultured forest, anywhere on the planet - and then found I this:


I have no idea who, why and wherefore - but it spun me out: I can't help but think the people doing this, would have had more than purely economical reasons to plant that many palm trees in a a vortex/helix - and surely would not have taken google maps or aerial photography into account - though: WHO knows? ...some cargo cult looking to attract those tripping yankee flyers back on-shore ...?

So, there you have it - talk about the packaging of landscape[ing...sort of, nearly] and art from space. Thought you might like to know!

PS: Half the Kiribis folk would/will resettle to AUS, the other to NZ, should/when the time comes. The government is already implementing the plan for 'evacuation' [don't know what they actually call it]. Their two sweetwater lagoons have already turned salty, apparently. I eagerly await the report from AnnaMaria and John!

Regards, Walter Stahl
[Brisvegas, Qld., Aus]

artfromspace said...

Dear Walter,

interesting to hear how you came to us and glad you liked Peter's show. I'm hoping to catch it when I'm in Brisbane in a few weeks.

Thanks so much for the link to the vortex plantation - what a terrific find. NZ artist John Reynolds has been doing some formation planting of cabbage trees, although his biggest project isn't yet visible on google maps. There are some links here: http://artfromspace.blogspot.com/2009/01/slow-start.html

I had a quick look around your website and like the Captain Burke image and your comment about the 90 degree horizon shift. Do you mind if use the image here? The ants are great too. Perhaps you could get them marching in helix shapes and other popular crop circle formations?



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.