The centre of gravity of each continent
Journey / 2003-2005
The centre of gravity of a continent is a factual and calculable spot. It can be seen as the navel, the core and heart. For this project I asked geographer Professor Jean-Georges Affholder of the Institut Géographique National (IGN) in Paris to determine these centres. The centre of gravity in this case is the geographical centre of a flat surface; land masses and expanses of water and continental waters were not included in the calculations. It is the point on which the ‘flat continent’ balances. If you were to cut out the continent and balance it on a pencil, there is only one point on which the continent would be in total horizontal balance. During the Journey I succeeded in physically visiting all these geographical centres to the meter precise. (except for Antarctica)
A square meter is a manageable size, you can hold it, jump over it and stand within it. It surrounds you without suffocating you. Most important for me is that this dimension is derived from the earth itself. A meter is the 10-millionth of the length of the meridian that runs from the pole to the equator. During the journey I marked each centre of gravity with a square meter of found materials from the surroundings. They are temporary markings; they are transient and will be incorporated into nature within a few months, weeks or even hours. I do not want to intervene with the nature of that place, do not want to claim that place, just to name it and give it a story and soul.
Outcome: Framed maps, photos, book, docu, articles and installations. (2008-2010)
I covered 120,000 kilometers (74,000 miles), in 455 days, visited 46 countries, crossed 18 time zones, 27 longitudes and 9 latitudes and slept in 211 different places with Gijs Beekenkamp, my fellow traveler.
link to book: A Summary of the World
link to docu: Centres of Gravity
link to installation: Summary of the World
link to installation: Reduced World
link to publication: Mental Maps, My World
link to photo Series: Places to sleep along the Road
link to articles: various newspapers and magazines