The Sun Never Sets on the Pink Map

 

In its opening frame, the camera reveals a minimal still life including a lemon, bottle of ‘Indian tonic’ and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin. A figure in a collared shirt enters and disassembles the still life in order to pour a gin and tonic, before proceeding to draw the world map from memory in view of the camera. A total of five drawings are made and nearly half a bottle of gin consumed.

The phrase ‘the sun never sets on the map’ first came into currency during the expansive years of the Spanish Empire, when much of Latin America was under Spanish administration. The phrase was revived at the end of the 19th century, with the insertion ‘pink’, referring to the colour in which British territories were cartographically marked. The particular map convention redrawn in the video follows the Mercator projection, arguably the most popular map form, first presented in 1569.

The video performance examines what relationship remains between the tradition of still life and the current political residue of colonial cartography. The ‘hangover’ of history could also refer to frontier demarcations which survived independence and are still operative.

 

January 2015
This excerpt: 12 minutes and 21 seconds
Full video: 1 hour 47 minutes 31 seconds
Sierre, Switzerland