15 January 2009


It may look like not much has happened around here over the last few months, aside from a sudden burst of activity over the last week. But we've been busy building stuff out back for you. In addition to grazing through posts for links in our blog, you can now browse Art from Space's content in a more graphic format with all location links now loaded into google maps. It seems more fun this way, and hopefully it will impress certain PEOPLE. The new mother ship, with easier to remember address, is now here.

Big time

The Art, Life, TV blog has just alerted us to the recent passing of Claes Oldenburg's wife and collaborator, Coosje van Bruggen. We were planning to do this anyway at some stage but it seems appropriate to launch into an overdue Oldenburg Big Things tour:

INVERTED COLLAR and TIE, Frankfurt an Main (partly obscured by the tower and not yet available on Street View)

Here is their giant SHUTTLECOCKS sculpture.

FREE STAMP in Cleveland.

The CRUSOE UMBRELLA is excellent viewing.

Casting a long shadow over the tradition on vertical monuments it parodies (bludgeons?), here is BATCOLUMN in Chicago. Check out the cosmic beam of light the bat appears to be deflecting in STREET VIEW!

And best of all from this vantage point, perched on top of a building in Koln, DROPPED CONE looks like it has fallen from the sky.

Image: Ice-cream Koln, photo found here

14 January 2009

A Slow Start

"Landscape is ultimately going to subsume us all, it's the inevitable destination of all living things. So it is almost an irony that landscape is one of the expected subjects for painters... I describe my works as an unnatural staging of the natural. There is also a contemplation of monumentality, in the sense that I make a lot of very small works but I"m also drawn to making something so big that it is part of the landscape, a sense of scale that is also a mechanics of play. And there's a desire to make something that has a time component... What we have initiated is what I call a permanent work in progress. I will be long dead by the time the work reaches fruition, when the plants are mature enough to flower goldenly and magnificently. So what I think I can justifiably claim is that what we are working on is the slowets art work in New Zealand."

So says John Reynolds, in his book Certain Words Drawn, about his earth works SNOW TUSSOCK, GOLDEN SPANIARD and Cordyline. The first two are part of a larger project employing artists, also including Gavin Hipkins and Jae Hoon Lee, to rejuvenate the heavily mined landscape of Macraes Flat. Cordyline is hidden on Alan Gibbs' private sculpture park at The Farm in Kaipara. There is a fourth earth work by Reynolds, which precedes these but doesn't seem to have been concluded. This was part of a bigger multi-disciplinary project about layering data on the Auckand landscape. The first of a proposed series of planted arrow formations should be growing somewhere around here at UNITEC.

Reynolds' comments on temporality ring true when visiting these works via google. Golden Spaniard is shown at a very early stage with what look like heaped tailings being gathered into a giant koru shape before being sculpted into a ziggurat form. The earth-moving is now completed but there are many years of growing ahead. In anticipation of potential future phases of Art from Space, we will start archiving these map images as they are updated for juxtaposition with later incarnations.

Bearing in mind the wiry motifs Reynolds now has self-propogating around the countryside, it's easy to also look at these two forms as an interesting pair of in-progress drawings HERE and HERE. And just for good measure, here is the inverted ziggurat of the still-functioning WAIHI GOLDMINE.

Image: John Reynolds, The Garden for the Blind, proposed detail of installation in Orakei.

13 January 2009


In our last tour of New Zealand's hydro facilities it seems we missed an important one. Fortunately Peter Peryer, whose use of a blog to reveal the day-to-day influences on his practice is well worth a subscription, has been keeping a close eye on the CLUTHA RIVER. He reports that the dam now has surplus storage and, indeed, it does look like we've gone from a serious low to a significant high since alarm bells were ringing last winter.

We're envious of the remarkable landscapes, cloud formations and earthworks he has snapped while on residency in Otago and during frequent trips north. Here is his Three Sisters in Tongaporutu, reduced to just a pair for a while but now featuring a new sibling. Unfortunately the coast is shrouded in cloud so we can't see exactly which incarnation lives on the GOOGLE MAP.

Air travel appears to be an occasional recurring theme of Peryer's and he has even snapped the elusive B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, which has invisibility powers that seem to even keep it clear of map sitings. A number of people have documented finding them HERE at Edwards Air Force Base, halfway between Lancaster and Littlerock. Similarly, there were a lot of documented sitings of one left on the tarmac HERE at Northrop Grumman, and most of the fleet of 20 are said to reside HERE at Whiteman Air Force Base, but in all three cases someone has done a very good job of spiriting (airbrushing) them out of view. There is apparently one parked inside a hangar at the National Museum of the US Air Force, although a good gathering of vintage craft can be seen outside HERE. In the middle of the Indian Ocean on the controversially depopulated Diego Garcia atoll, which contributes to GPS data, you can see HERE the portable climate-controlled bubbles they are kept in. But our favourite siting, also at Edwards AFB, has to be this bomber-shaped garden over HERE.

Images: Peter Peryer's Sluice Gate Number 1 at Roxburgh (above) and our own version (below), one of NZ's Top 10 modernist structures according to Docomomo.

1 January 2009

Colour fields

Since an online visit to Monet's garden, we have been keeping an eye out for visible sunflower fields, blurry haystacks, poppies, or any other plantation bringing a splash of colour to the satellite landscapes. So far, although our efforts have hardly been persistent, there has been little success. However, an actual drive through the real terrain of West Auckland a few days ago, taking the scenic route home to avoid an accident on THE BRIDGE, led us to this industrial ROSE GARDEN with its softly dappled pink and blue smudges - and an excellent light-flare off a greenhouse roof. Jumping into street view, we couldn't help admiring the spectacular FUNNEL OF CLOUD caught in the sunset.

It seems to be a garden summer with the Auckland Art Gallery opening a delightfully electic (eccentric?) exhibition, The Enchanted Garden, not long after former gallery director Christopher Johnstone launched his own book on gardens in New Zealand art. Of the many delights unearthed from the collection vaults by curator Mary Kisler, there is one of the gallery's six views of MALTA's impressively terraced fortifications painted by Alberto Pulicino while still occupied by the 'Knights of Malta'.

Of particular interest in Johnstone's book is the early depiction of now long-gone homes, and their surrounding grounds, in what have mostly became dense, urban areas. Of these historic garden estates, a few survive, including Sir George Gray's mansion at KAWAU (depicted by Alfred Sharpe and Constance Cumming) and ST JOHN'S COLLEGE in Auckland (depicted by John Kinder) retains many early features. It is interesting to note that the extensive plantings Colin McCahon (and family) made and painted at their Titirangi house were probably influenced by time he spent working as a gardener at the WELLINGTON BOTANICAL GARDENS. Jumping back into STREET VIEW, we can almost replicate his works depicting the Titirangi House through the trees.

Leigh Martin, best known for abstract work, is included for his floral 'noise' paintings. Whilst studying in Glasgow, Martin is said to have spent much time in the local Botanic Gardens, including KIBBLE PALACE and particularly the NZ flora section. He also met the late Derek Jarman, whose shingle garden at PROSPECT COTTAGE near Dungeness (also home to a nuclear POWER STATION, an excellent set of sound mirrors, and is an important ecological site) is well known, and just as striking to the ear (audio here) as to the eye.

Image: One of many images of Derek Jarman's Garden available on flickr and similar websites.


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.