Light installation and video. Led neon light, methacrylate discs, sedal.
Light sculpture representing the real data obtained in the launching of a beacon to the stratosphere. Video documentation of the launching.
Critical text by Paul Waelder:
The Map and the Territory
In his well-known story «On Exactitude in Science» (1946), Jorge Luis Borges tells the story of an empire in which such perfection had been achieved in the art of cartography that the map of the empire occupied the entire territory. The absurdity posed by this fiction is in fact what current cartography has achieved based on images captured by satellite and the global positioning system (GPS), which allows us to accurately determine the location of an object anywhere on Earth. From this perspective, just as the «living» body of Pilgrim is a set of coordinates, everything on the planet can be interpreted as a set of numerical values. If, as Casey Reas indicates, the computer can create a two-dimensional or three-dimensional space by determining the position of each element, then thanks to GPS, the real world also becomes a space that can be calculated and reproduced down to the smallest detail. Thus, the map is superimposed on the territory: real and virtual space are confused. However, even this advanced form of cartography has a limit, which is what Limbology explores, a geolocation experiment in the stratosphere performed with a beacon attached to a probe balloon.
The balloon is released in an open space, where it begins its ascent at the mercy of air currents and with an uncertain destination. Floating in the sky, the balloon seems to be nowhere (therefore, in limbo) but at the same time its position is fixed with precision thanks to the GPS beacon. As it rises, the beacon’s capacity to transmit the data decreases until it reaches a height where it loses connection and subsequently, due to the decrease in air pressure, the balloon expands until it bursts and starts its vertiginous decline. The data of the position of the beacon during the journey are translated into a sinuous line that rises and stops abruptly. The artist visualizes this route with a neon tube suspended from the ceiling and a video that captures the trip of the balloon. Consciously realized as a failed experiment, the action shows the limits of technology while reflecting on how we conceive space as something that can be mastered by means of measurements and maps.
Keywords vjsual data, data transfer, geolocation, gps, light installation.
Launching collaboration: Fernando Ortuño and Regue Fernández.
Beacon collaboration: Toni Vaca.
Coordination: Beatriz Ingelmo.