The World Was Never Flat

September 25th– October 9th, 2014

About the Exhibition

This exhibition examines the use of geography and mapping within historical, political, and social contexts, highlighting the complexity of the landscape that surrounds us. Through video, printed books, and sculptural drawings, a diversity of medium shows how topology can be continuously re-translated from the two-dimensional plane of the map.

From explorer Christopher Columbus to contemporary author Thomas L. Freidman, the flatness of our earth has been emphasized, miscounting the dynamic and complex systems underneath our ever-changing world; these artists ultimately challenge that notion by revealing that The World Was Never Flat:

Gardner’s video repositions the viewer to remove their eyes from the ground and point them towards the sky when navigating Houston, a practice that makes the city almost unrecognizable. Forse’s intimate black and white drawings show how the map has historically played a key role in territory conflict, specifically during Hitler’s expansion of Germany in World War II. Heg and Smith both physically manipulate maps, sculpting them to re-examine the boundary lines put in place by society over time. Visualizing Nature, a book created by an interdisciplinary Rice University photography and earth science course, visually studies the Galveston ecosystems and portrays the complexity of how our earth operates. Brown and Burckhardt present their beginning architectural drawings for a project about Houston’s large-scale infrastructure and its relation to tree root systems in Herman Park. Through this project they prove the impermanence of the map as they reinvent subterranean systems through drawing.

Listed Works

August 25th, 1940;   June 22nd, 1940;   Bletchley Park eventually decodes Luftwaffe transmissions, providing advanced warning of Hitler’s intentions; December 18th, 1940
John Forse
ink on paper

Subversive Topology II
Lydia Smith
mono-prints on found maps, staples, and thread
Visualizing Nature
ESCI 380/ FOTO 390
(Rice University class taught by Adrian Lendardic and Geoff Winningham)
Soon Shall We Be Joined By The Leaves & Tall Grasses
A study of unintentional topography
Maria Heg
Intersections (Houston)
Nico Gardner

Root Life
MacAulay Brown and Monica Burckhardt
architectural line drawings on newspaper broadsheet

Lydia Smith

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