Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Biggest drawing in the world, or new art hoax?

A Swedish artist claims to have drawn the biggest picture in the world, using a GPS device stuffed inside a briefcase. The self-portrait – which straddles the entire globe – was allegedly created by tracing the route taken by Erik Nordenankar's case on its 55-day journey around the world. The artist claims he gave the specially-primed case to DHL, the package delivery firm, with exact co-ordinates detailing the stages of its tour. When the package was returned to Stockholm he says he downloaded the GPS's route memory to produce the enormous drawing above. It is composed of a single 110,00km long line that passes through six continents and 62 countries. "In order to make the drawing that I wanted, I developed a GPS device with extended tracklog and battery time," Nordenankar claims. As "evidence" of his achievement he has posted the picture, his complete delivery instructions to DHL, two photos of his GPS suitcase and a photo of a wad of DHL delivery notes onto his website. He has also made two YouTube videos, one showing him sketching the route onto a world map, and the other allegedly showing the briefcase at various stages of its journey. But since releasing the drawing and details of his project earlier this month, bloggers have been quick to accuse him of pushing a hoax. Many have pointed out that DHL delivery planes would have been highly unlikely to make the tight loops in the North Atlantic that form the hair of the self-portrait. Others have noted that many of the package's mid-route stops appear to be in the middle of the ocean. "[He] could have at least centered the drawing over the land areas, so it would be more believable that DHL had made stops there, as opposed to a DHL plane making loop-the-loops out over the Atlantic," a reader called Shinanigans posted on the Neatorama blog. "Were the DHL pilots on acid?" another asked. There have also been claims that the project is a DHL advertising stunt. Much of the footage posted by Nordenankar on his website was apparently filmed inside DHL sorting offices and vans across the world. Alleged technical flaws in Nordenankar’s project have also met with derision. "A GPS signal cannot penetrate dense materials. That briefcase looks dense enough to block the signal and the roof of a car or thick walls of an airplane blocks the rest," a blogger named Samppa79 wrote.


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