“Inter Caetera Divina” by Ken Goldberg and Claudia Vera (1992)

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Shown at SIGGRAPH in 1992, “Inter Caetera Divina” was a robot art that drew world maps over the course of the 5-day show. The title refers to the 1493 proclamation by Pope Alexander VI that split the New World between Spain and Portugal, and the maps range from the time of Columbus to World War II. The robot art feels like a non-sequitor here – how exactly do they relate to cartography or to the notion of artificial borders? Maybe the durational quality of this work is what connects the technology to the stated theme. I can’t help but feel the precision of the robot belies the provisional and subjective nature of map-making.

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