Flyover is made from a sequence of aerial reconnaissance photographs produced in the early sixties to map the Antarctic continent. As rendered in video, the photos fade from one image to the next at roughly the speed that they were taken so as to give a sense of the scale and timing of the flight. The pictures were shot from the bottom of a plane and include in the image itself a record of the time and where the picture was taken. Given the relatively detached framing of the images (determined by the direction and altitude of the plane rather than a human eye to a viewfinder) and the superimposition of mapping information in the image itself, these images substitute the aesthetic intentionality of the photographer's eye with a cartographic framework to order the wilderness depicted within them.
The still images are accompanied by a voiceover reading excerpts from the Provisional Gazetteer of the Ross Dependency (the Ross Dependency is the area of Antarctica shown in the photo sequences). This Gazetteer went through a number of different versions as the area was mapped, and in examining the successive versions of it one can clearly sense the difficulty in applying language to the geography: Shapeless Mountain, Intention Nunatuks, Mistake Peak, Home Run Bluff, Co-Pilot Glacier, Mount Supernal, and Veto Gap are typical names to result from this process. In addition, the naming of places for everything from expedition members to dogs to items of food (Oates Piedmont Glacier, Lake Vanda, and Biscuit Step, respectively) highlights the difference between the immense Antarctic terrain and the limited framework of language that the explorers brought with them to mark that landscape with names. The images and texts in Flyover are artifacts of a moment when a blank land was first harvested for information, a moment where the human urge to inscribe and name everything glided across thousands of miles of previously untouched ice.
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