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Business - Written by on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 9:03 - 1 Comment

Denis Hancock
Correction: not quite the biggest self portrait in the world

A couple of days ago I posted a story about how Erik Nordenanker created a single line self-portrait of himself by having a GPS device shipped around the world with very precise instructions. The story had been picked up many places, including Gizmodo – and was generating a lot of discussion. At the time, if you went to the site dedicated to the project, it was described this way:

“With the help of a GPS device and DHL, I have drawn a self portrait on our planet. My pen was a briefcase containing the GPS device, being sent around the world. the paths the briefcase took around the globe became the strokes of the drawing.”

Providing further detail, the site then goes on to provide the exact date the briefcase was given to DHL, how long it took, where it finally ended up, and how the information from the journey was downloaded to his computer to make the diagram. Finally, a picture of the delivery notes from the journey are shown at the end. Seems fairly unambiguous, non?

Well it turns out that’s not exactly what happened (which I’m sure someone will someday tell me is part of the art that I just don’t “get”). Erik posted a little update on his site today:

… I think it’s possible to realize the project for real, but due to my extremely limited budget… that was not possible. Therefore, I have realized the idea in fictional way. So, to be clear:

  • This is a fictional work
  • DHL did not transport the GPS at any time.
  • DHL has kindly allowed me to film parts of their facilities and distribution.
  • This is a personal graduation project.

So yeah – not quite the same thing, and it let’s just say “realized in a fictional way” is quite a generous way to describe what appears to have happened here. Thanks to AlexS for the heads up.

1 Comment

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Alan Majer
May 28, 2008 11:10

Some viral marketing skirts the line between fiction and reality in a fun way. It looks to me like Erik Nordenanker was being deceptive, plain and simple. Sure it grabbed attention, but in a rather short sighted way.

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