Antipodes by Layla Curtis
From March 2013 to March 2014, the Antipodes website observed the planet through a series of webcams focused on the fraction of the earth’s surface (only 4%) on which land is antipodal to land. For exactly one year the website constantly updated with newly captured, live webcam images. Over two million antipodal images now make up this huge, browsable archive.
Alongside the online artwork exists a series of time-lapse videos created from the continuous flow of images captured by Antipodes. Photographic diptychs of the webcam pairings, drawings depicting antipodal geographies and an installation consisting of live webcam feeds, have also been created from the collected data and were exhibited in the artist’s solo exhibitions at Spacex, Exeter (UK) and Phoenix, Leicester (UK) (both 2013). The online artwork is currently being updated to include new navigational features and enhanced visibility for the archive of webcam images (2016).
The live project
In its first year, Antipodes was a constantly updating, online artwork pairing live, publicly available webcams from places on opposite sides of the planet. Carefully selected from myriad international locations, these antipodal webcams are placed side by side to allow viewers to simultaneously view live images from locations as far away from each other as it is possible to be. The chosen antipodal webcams display obvious day/night, summer/winter contrasts but also reveal surprising architectural, cultural and topographical similarities. Antipodes was launched on the northward equinox 2013.
Antipodal points on earth
Antipodal points on earth are locations that are diametrically opposite each other; they are places that cannot be any further apart. For example, if you imagine digging a hole directly through the centre of the earth from Hamilton, Bermuda you would come out at its antipode: Perth, Australia. The exact antipodal point to London, England, lies in the South Pacific Ocean, about 800km off the coast of New Zealand. Less than 4% of the earth’s surface has land antipodal to land.
At antipodal locations night contrasts with day, and with the exception of the tropics, midwinter contrasts with midsummer and thus the longest day with the shortest. For example, at the northern solstice, when it is midsummer in the northern hemisphere, the webcam on Moneron Island in northern Russia often showed sunny, blue sky vistas, while images captured in antipodal South Georgia (an overseas territory of the UK in the South Atlantic), show blizzards, icicles and icebergs.
The webcams were all pre-existing cameras installed for a variety of reasons: to monitor weather, traffic, surf, ports, and volcanic activity, as well as providing remote viewers opportunities to glimpse wild animals at a desert watering hole, explore a holiday destination or perhaps experience a distant sunset. Some webcams unexpectedly changed their view during the project, or became obscured by rain, ice, flies or volcanic ash. Connections to some cameras were frequently or permanently lost due to power cuts, volcanic eruptions, or even lions chewing through the power cables! New camera pairs were added when they became available, providing an ever-changing collection of paired images.
7 September – 22 October 2016
Epiphany - Frontiers of Solitude
DUUL, Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic
18 October – 21 December 2013
Antipodes (solo exhibition)
Phoenix, Leicester, UK
18 May – 13 July 2013
Antipodes (solo exhibition)
Spacex, Exeter, UK
For further information about the artist please visit www.laylacurtis.com
Local Time, Patrick Langley’s essay written in response to Antipodes