is the earth flat?

theearthnotaglobe_web_1back in the day. school­days. lord how we laughed at the prim­i­tive dis­be­liev­ers who doubt­ed the cer­tain­ties of sci­ence, sug­gest­ing colum­bus was mad to sail across the atlantic. that colum­bus could­n’t find a west­ward pas­sage to the indies (he did­n’t) and who warned of his falling off the edges of the earth (he did­n’t do that either)
but what if they were right? maybe the earth is flat. take a bus ride through the fens of nor­folk and it cer­tain­ly looks flat. at the roke­by gallery a group of artists have mount­ed an exhi­bi­tion based upon just this premiss.

for many years the flat earth soci­ety has main­tained a tra­di­tion of scep­ti­cism in the face of absolute cer­tain­ties, no less repel­lent from dis­cours­es of sci­ence than they are from reli­gion. or as the exhi­bi­tion cat­a­logue has it:

The Earth Not a Globe takes as its start­ing point the phe­nom­e­na of flat earth the­o­rem whose belief sys­tem of ‘flat­ness’ diverges from the earth as a globe. Think­ing about scales of per­cep­tion, their lim­i­ta­tions and how we deal with this on a tan­gi­ble lev­el the exhi­bi­tion brings togeth­er a selec­tion of artists who employ car­to­graph­ic sys­tems of resist­ing one point of view for anoth­er poten­tial combination.

As the title of the show sug­gests the slip­page between what we expe­ri­ence as an earth and what we expe­ri­ence as a globe is sub­ject to scal­ing; an expan­sive or reduc­tive series of idioms, events or knowl­edges. Knowl­edge is not a given.

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