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SPOT ART (article first published : 2001-03-20)

Spot Art, a remarkable exhibition of arial photographs taken by a satellite at a distance of 830 kilometres from earth opens at the Alliance FranÁaise, 22 Sutton Crescent in Morningside on April 9 at 18h00.

These photos reveal that viewed from far, far away, every spot on Earth becomes a beautiful work of art. Thus, in a satellite image of the Sudan, the Blue Nile and its Tributaries resemble an Impressionist painting of a gracefully bending tree, itís bare grey branches surrounded by startling red. A photograph of the Gulf of Bengal in Burma looks more like brightly marbled paper. An image of bare sand dunes running parallel to the prevailing Trade Winds in Chad resembles, from so far away, a colour-field painting in cream-coloured oil, with small areas of impasto amongst irregular scrapings of an artistís palette knife.

The Satellite, called "Spot" (hence Spot Art) is designed by the French Space Agency CNES and produced by France in co-operation with Belgium and Sweden. The first Spot Satellite was launched in February 1986. In the first nine years of operation Satellite Spot acquired over 3.5 million "scenes" while completing its sun-synchronous orbit at a ground speed of 26,000 km/hour.

Examples of how the photos are used include environmental impact and land use studies. For instance, changes or impact of deforestation, erosion, desertification, urban sprawl and implementation of large-scale projects are all studied.

The unusual perspective of the earth in these photos is fascinating to anybody interested in this world in which we live, not only to lovers of fine arts and photography or those interested in earth sciences. More details from Victoria Mallett at (031) 312-9582. Everyone is welcome, reservations for the opening night cocktail (free to the public) much appreciated.




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