What are the rarest places on the planet? With an overflowing population, is it still possible to inhabit the void and experience solitude?
Rarity means, in its statistical definition, a very unlikely event in a set of possible events. By defining the set of geographic coordinates of the planet as the number of possible events, it is possible to calculate the probability of finding a specific latitude and longitude pair in a random number draw and, thus, quantify its rarity.
Through a combinatorial analysis, I calculate that there are 839,808,000,000 locations indicated by coordinates, considering degrees, minutes and seconds for latitude and longitude on the global map. Therefore, the probability of drawing a specific pair of coordinates in this set is 1 chance in more than 800 billion events!
Using an application to draw random numbers, I drew 3 pairs of coordinates and thus found the three rarest places on the planet. I located these coordinates on the global map using the Google Maps geolocation service and registered them on this platform with the name “Latitude Longitude”, classifying them in the “open-air museums” category.
Since then, I visit them frequently, browse satellite images, explore the relief features, search for information and data on the network about these places. I collect numbers.
The first place drawn was Norskehavet. I floated over the submerged mountain range Scotland-Greenland, formed 250 million years ago, with 2471 meters of altitude in relation to the surrounding ocean floor, with 3000 meters of depth. This mountain range is considered a portal between the Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea. Somehow these numbers connect to subjectivity, inspiring desires for distance and aspirations for futures in an imagined presence. Magnitudes inspires delusions.
I have tried to inhabit this imagery layer of space. My thought travels in the cloud, my conscience permeates the network. I move in intention and immersion and find my way through tangle of nodes in the network. The fact that I have found and named them makes them mine in the origin, but I have no legal rights over them. The viewing platform for the locations is private, but currently it is free. The coordinates are in the public domain and the location of this open-air museum can be shared. Visitors can wander in this layer with or without interaction with other passersby, leaving more or less digital footprints.
Is it possible to undertake solitary trips to these empty nodes, searching uninhabited spaces? Will there be other presences, simultaneous and untouchable, crossing the same nodes, at the same time? What are the chances?
Relation to Open Call
Many of us (maybe most of us) have spent much of our time in virtual immersion, surfing the networks, exchanging information or watching anonymously. Some questions haunt and fascinate me about virtual presence, geolocation and satellite images: how do I reach distances, beyond my reach, with my gaze? What are the possibilities of insertion in a dematerialized reality? How do I cross that portal between matter and information?
What do I leave of myself in this space between realities?
In this proposal, I use Google’s mapping and geolocation platforms, which allow users to register and name locations, trying to confuse me in the tangle of information processed by algorithms. In this way, I create cyberspace museums, located in virtual cartographic systems, which act as indexes of physical places. These museums are continuously in the process of building their exhibition. While the platform service is free, the registered places are public and can be visited by other users, with the possibility of inserting images and comments.