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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