Google Earth Rooftop Quilt

"A slow hack"

A collaborative work between Mike Sharpe and myself, as well as many volunteers.

Volunteers included:

Dennis Hale, Dustin Pritchard, Lyla Rye, Margaret Mckinnon, John Baljkas, Matthew Sharpe, Rhupert Ashmore-Sharpe, Elizabeth Fearon, Michelle Johnson, Lucas LePrince, Janis Demkiw, Tegan Smith, Kyle Hampton, Kd Thornton, Kaan Ucel, Julie Bogdanowicz, Stan Krzyzanowski, Kathryn Atwell and others.

A collaborative outdoor site work that will be viewable in person and eventually via Google Earth. We have been engaging with our friends and community quilting bees to create a large hand sewn tarp which contains a binary image. We have created a cipher key which uses colour squares to represent the 0's and 1's that hold the text message. The image is reminiscent of the canadian flag in structure but contains an ascii heart in the centre replacing the maple leaf.

Google Earth is a structure that allows us to idly participate in looking at the world. The existing system allows us to post on maps, add locations, images and comments, as a transparent layer. We are interested in becoming part of the hard copy, the archive, modifying the data before it reaches the users.

This intervention is concrete existing in the physical world then later becoming part of the virtual archive. We are engaging with notions of global responsibility, action & non action, communicating our voices loudly in the local landscape and amplifying those notions via Google Earth.

We live in an era where communication is fast, instant messaging and instant gratification are the social demand. This work is a subversion of that speed. The lag between when we install the work and when it actualizes on Google Earth is a testament to the nature of this work as a carefully crafted message. This is a low tech hack in fact a no tech and a slow tech hack. We are using real world tools to embed our work into the system as it exists, rather than embracing the tools Google provides which then function as a subsequent transparent virtual layer.

Thanks to the Ontario Arts Council.


43o40'22.60'' N 79o26'04.80'' W from Myfanwy Ashmore on Vimeo.