From March 2013 to March 2014, the Antipodes website observed the planet through a series of paired webcams at opposite ends of the globe. Although Australia, despite our colloquial name for it, is not directly ‘down under’ from Britain, and the other side of the world from us, like much of the planet, is actually sea, the 4 per cent of the earth’s surface in which land is antipodal to land offers rich terrain for interesting parallels and correspondences. As far away from each other as it is possible to be, their day-for-night, summer/winter contrasts palpable, often extreme, these distant ‘twins’ (Bali/Tobago, Montevideo/Seoul, the Kalahari Desert/Hawaii) frequently possess surprising affinities. Having researched multiple webcam sources from myriad international locations, Curtis revels in drawing out these points of connection: finding topographical echoes in the landscape, as well as architectural and cultural similarities. The volcanic peak of Tungurahua in Ecuador is shadowed by the majestic summit of Sinabung half a world away in Indonesia while the port of Melbourne is complemented, in miniature, by its geographical equivalent – a dockside scene in one of the islands of the Azores. Like mirror images, the key elements of the picture may be the other way round but their inherent similarities are undeniable. A number of photographic diptychs, distilled from the stream of webcam footage, press the point home. Highlighting both the distance and the difference between us, they also remind us how technology is bringing us closer together.
Online: Antipodes.uk.com, March 2013 - March 2014
18 October–21 December 2013
18 May–13 July 2013
Antipodes by Layla Curtis is commissioned by FVU, in association with Spacex. Technical support by Cuttlefish. Supported by Arts Council England.