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Whether you can perceive the shape of an object depends on the size ratio and distance between you and the object. If you are small and the object you're standing on is big, you either disappear into the surface or need to take a distance (either mentally or physically). What interests me about our relationship to the size of the planet, is that we seem to be -unaided by scientific methods- just a tiny bit too small to see a sphere, yet not small enough to only be surface dwellers. Therefore, we are at a particular intersection of scales, between perceiving the Earth as a plane and perceiving it as a sphere. Maybe, because humans are too small to see the whole picture, yet big enough to allow a glimpse of curvature, we've enhanced the perception of Earth, using mathematics and technology, until we could see the whole picture.
For the ongoing Trajectories & curvatures project I'm questioning what it means to live on a sphere, an obsession rooted in standing on top of an observation tower as a young child. Can you feel the curvature between you and someone else?
Amongst other exercises, I visualized the different trajectories one can follow when trying to escape a spherical object and along the way, how the decreasing angles capturing the horizon allow you to see a sphere. I asked long-distance pilots if they experienced their flight-paths as straight lines or curved trajectories. The answer of one of the pilots during a flight was: 'In an airplane you are stuck to the ground'. Shortly afterwards, I threw up in a bag.
Interview with pilot Alexandre van Damme