Sandy Island

Designer | Artist Luiz Zanotello
Year 2015

Created by Luiz Zanotello at the University of the Arts, Bremen, The New Velocity is a machine designed to plot the phantom Sandy Island using digital as a new analogy for its existence. The project investigates a charting error that persisted in cartographic maps even after the advent of digital media. It speculates how data and physical phenomena are entangled, and how in contemporaneity, the two have the same weight under digital media.

Sandy Island is a non-existent island that was charted for over a century as being located near the French territory of New Caledonia. The island was included on many maps from as early as the late 19th century, and gained wide media and public attention in November 2012 when an Australian surveyor ship, passed through the area and “undiscovered” it. The island was quickly removed from many maps and data sets, including those of the National Geographic Society and Google Maps. By reproducing the same phenomenological conditions upon which the island was seen in 1876, the project seeks to reinsert the charting glitch that endured in worldwide maps. The machine records new datasets that support the further existence of the island by manipulating its digital presence.