Thursday, July 29, 2010

Google Biblical Earth: artist recreates Christian stories seen from space

Google Biblical Earth: artist recreates Christian stories seen from space
An artist has recreated key scenes from the Bible such as Jesus' crucifixion and the parting of the Red Sea to show what they would have looked like from space.
16 Jul 2010

The "God's eye view" re-enacts moments including Noah's Ark in the floods and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as seen from a Google Earth style satellite.

James Dive spent more than three months painstakingly searching for suitable locations on Google Earth.

The 31 year old, from Sydney, Australia, then combined them on a computer with 3D models of iconic elements from the religious text.

Mr Dive, who is a member of Sydney based art collective The Glue Society, said: "We like to disorientate audiences a little with all our work.

"And with this piece we felt technology now allows events which may or may not have happened to be visualised and made to appear dramatically real.

"As a method of representation satellite photography is so trusted, it has been interesting to mess with that trust."

Among the startling series of images is Moses parting the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross and escape the pursuing Egyptian army.

Another picture shows Noah's Ark resting on the top of a mountains of Ararat as the waters recede after God flooded the earth to combat man's wickedness.

Adam and Eve can be seen resting in the Garden of Eden before being banished after going against God's wishes and eating fruit from the tree of knowledge.

The final image sees Jesus crucified on a cross and hanging between two convicted thieves, also on crosses.

Mr Dive said: "Luckily for me Google Earth was a great research tool.

"I had to find a hill for Jesus, a garden for Eden and a rocky mountain top surrounded by water for the ark.

"However, it wasn't that easy to find so some images are a Frankenstein of a couple of satellite images.

"For instance the Moses piece uses parts of Niagara Falls, deserts and the Red Sea.

"It is funny to note that Eden is from Belgium.

"None of the images are entirely geographically accurate, as each contains a combination of a number of satellite photos merged together.

"But there are true elements such as the Red Sea in the Moses piece."

He added: "Before replicating satellite imagery I had to learn the rules of the medium.

"For instance how shadows reveal height, how the imagery distorts when closer in and how colour varies between seasons and heights.

"I found as many satellite images of the boats as I could floating on the ocean in order to learn as much as possible when putting together the ark."

Using a pencil and paper he drew the elements he wanted to be included, such as Jesus on the cross and the ark, and contacted a 3D modelling studio to recreate his designs.

He then spent four weeks working with the designers and combining the backdrops with the 3D elements.

He said: "The reaction has been fantastic.

"The images were recently exhibited in Chicago and were regarded by critics as the highlight of the show.

"I'm aiming to create more images using the technology, but this time relating to mythological occurrences and major historical events."

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