7 October 2010

Ever decreasing circles

Gee, it's been a while since anything much happened around here. Art From Space is on a bit of a go-slow these days, but we'll try check in from time to time if anything interesting crops (no pun) up.

Here's a great bit of linkage we've just been sent from The Boston Globe about STRANGE LAND FORMATIONS in SW Florida (thanks JR).

Image: Empty cul-de-sacs fill an area south of Rotonda West in CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida.

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)

18 March 2010

Spanning time

"[Elger] Esser uses found postcards from his extensive historical collection of Breton and Norman seaside views as source material for his images. Selecting a small section of them, and enlarging them to the point where the grain becomes apparent, Esser's images are lyrical and strange. Often depicting waterery views, the images are serene, but also unreal. They depict time as something lost, but also as worthy of retrieval."

So says Hanna Scott on the Sightseeing blog where she has been developing a forthcoming exhibition. Esser's bridge can be found in other grainy meta-timezones HERE and HERE.

Trawling through earlier posts, there is also this entry about artists overlaying or mapping temporal moments, particularly Marine Hugonnier's photographs across the 24hr dateline BETWEEN Siberia and Alaska, and the re-imagining of historical sites, including THIS one, much like Mark Adams' revisiting of Cook's sites (including HERE, HERE and HERE).

Image: Elger Esser, Saint Andre de Cubzac, Frankreich 1996, C-Type print, VG Bild-Kunst 2009

8 March 2010

Classic tracks

Although the novelty factor is undeniable, we are still finding TVNZ's belated screening of James May's Top Toys curiously compelling viewing, with a surprising amount of art parallels. In epidode one there were oversized KITSETS, then there were large meccano bridges. Another goodie is the recent episode where a classic motor racing track was revived to its former glory using vintage aerial photography and Scalextric slot cars. Sounds a bit like a Billy Apple project, albeit without the slot cars.

For Billy Apple's Bruce & Denny Show, seven classic tracks, raced by the legendary team of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme during their 1967-1968 victorious sweep of the Can-Am series, were recreated. These were produced from period aerial photographs to determine the exact outline of the tracks as they were at the time, then all converted to the same scale and rotated to true north. Featured tracks are ELKHART LAKE (Wisconsin, now Road America), BRIDGEHAMPTON (New York, now a golf course), MOSPORT PARK (Ontario, now Mosport International Raceway), EDMONTON (Alberta), LAGUNA SECA (California, still active), RIVERSIDE (California, now a mall) and STARDUST (Las Vegas, now the suburb of Spring Valley but fondly remembered).

May's programme is underpinned by a similar sort of social archeology. In this episode he pays tribute to Brooklands, the first purpose-built motor racing circuit in the world but out of action since 1939. Although SECTIONS of the track remain, along with a museum, the most action around here takes place on the Mercedes Benz test track that resides in the MIDDLE of the old track. May sends his slotcars across housing and industrial estates, fences, a river, pond, through corporate offices and across a road in order to recreate the BROOKLANDS circuit. At 2.7 miles in length, Brooklands now holds the record for the world's longest slot car set.

Image: Billy Apple, Paying Tribute. The Race Tracks, 1967, screenprint on paper, 521 x 843mm, 2008. Courtesy the artist and Two Rooms.

More journeys by hot air balloon

Exhibition announcement:

March 5 - April 3
Lighter Than Fiction (2010) by Jenny Marketou (Greece/US)
Presented by the Project Room for New Media at the Chelsea Art Museum

The Chelsea Art Museum, Home of the Miotte Foundation, and the Project Room for New Media are pleased to present Jenny Marketou: Lighter Than Fiction. What do you see when soaring over Los Alamos, New Mexico... utopia or dystopia? A landscape of natural beauty or a place where nature was unleashed in the creation of the nuclear bomb? Jenny Marketou’s video installation poses the question, juxtaposing dreamlike perspectives with disturbing realities. These contrasting states are experienced in three single channel video projections that comprise the installation.

In “Stolen Bubbles” 2010 Marketou has mixed visual and sonic material from Karel Zeman’s “The Stolen Airship” 1966 with her original animation that draws from the airborne balloon project called “Bubbles” 2009 - both filmed over Prague, Czech Republic.

“Bubbles” is based on a public sculpture project where the artist created a remarkable set of 14-meter banners with her original graphic composition using the word “Fragile” which were draped onto an air balloon. Marketou filmed as she and her guests riding the balloon experienced breathtaking views of PRAGUE and the dream-like sensation of floating with the wind currents, hovering above the busy pace and anxieties of city life.

“Levels of Disturbance” (2009) is structured around the aerial audio and visual recordings that Marketou captured while flying in a small jet over the natural landscape around LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, where the atomic bomb was created in the 1940s, that is still contaminated by nuclear waste and turbulent human emotions. During editing Marketou destroyed the order of the video sequence and the coherence of the narrative, placing at the center of each frame a round sphere animated in a perpetual motion that controls and obstructs access to the full image of the landscape. The viewer is drawn into this unsettling spinning sensation, generating metaphors for the human condition.

“Lighter Than Fiction” investigates the precarious balance between reality and fiction capturing the view from above where the lightness of utopian sensations and imagery are contrasted by dystopian realities.

Image: Still from Jenny Marketou's video animation “Levels of Disturbance” 2009

8 February 2010

Breaking Big

Despite a growing list of new writing assignments and good intentions of a productive evening, we couldnt' resist checking out the first episode of James May's Top Toys in which the Top Gear presenter makes really big versions of his childhood toys. First up is the classic Airfix model, the spitfire, which becomes a 1:1 kit, sprues and all - with a cast James May figurine in the cockpit. As overthenet are probably thinking, could be contender for a lookalike - HERE'S one conspicuously big example.

As May notes in the programme, lifesize spitfires aren't rare, there are quite a few replicas balanced on poles all over the place, including THIS recreation of the original spitfire prototype. Or THIS pair fixed in action at Bentley Priory. Even one right HERE in the Waikato. The programme also offered a glimpse of the Sentinel sculpture HERE on Spitfire Island near former spitfire production centre Castle Bromwich, where the episode takes place - nice CARPARK too.

We can't wait for the etch-a-sketch episode.

3 February 2010

Special Reserve

[exhibition announcement]

A lot or a little might be said, but in the end there will be something to pass on.

By WilliamHsu and Nick Spratt

For their project at Newcall Gallery, Hsu and Spratt initiate a series of events that position the gallery as site within a trajectory, providing an access point to other spaces in its immediate surroundings. These events in their varied forms explore and reveal parameters of inclusion and exclusion within shared space. They interrelate in a way that might call into question how collective experiences may be instigated and relayed.We invite you to join us for the opening event on Wednesday evening at Glenside Reserve South.

Please join us at GLENSIDE RESERVE (beside Newcall Gallery, see map) 6pm tonight for the opening event.
Weather forecast looks fine but if it rains please bring an umbrella.
Show runs 4 - 20 February

Hours for 2010: 12-5pm Thursday - Saturday
(The gallery will not be open on Waitangi day, Saturday 6 February)
Details about subsequent events will follow during the course of the show.--

Level 1, Newcall Tower
Hohipere St

26 January 2010

Doctoring time

Fans of Dr Who spin-off Torchwood (we've just finished the second series on DVD) will immediately recognise THIS view of central Cardiff, which plays a prominent role in the series. Cardiff, so the story goes, is in the middle of a rift in space and time and the Torchwood hub, where they deal with rift anomalies, is based underneath the Millennium Plaza (pictured). One episode has them rescuing a warehouse-scale alien meatloaf (built by Barney (son of Wystan) Curnow). Jumping into STREETVIEW, you're practically on location, waiting for Captain Jack to pop up out of the pavement.

Speaking of enormous alien structures, we've just discovered THIS DOOZY just a little north in Birmingham, designed by Future Systems, who are also responsible for the Lord's Media Centre, found HERE.


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.