Terraline is a hand-held navigation instrument that re-appropriates the magnetic compass to show directions that are not cardinal but indicators of economic states. This prototype allows its user to probe how many hours of work it would take to earn a meal at various distant locations in the pointed direction.
I was inspired by the innate desire of humans to have knowledge of events occurring at long distances– inventions and processes like the telescope, telephone, telemetry all enabled us to know that which existed far away. I built this device to probe how complex (and often debated) concepts of measuring economic prosperity could be distilled into a locally comparable insight for the user of this device. In this iteration, the instrument reveals the living standards of people around the world by interpolating statistics around hourly wages and cost of essential commodities in the respective countries. My overarching goal is to demonstrate one of the many possibilities of how such a device can be used to elicit local-global geographical concerns and evolving conditions that are otherwise unknown, and if such insights can encourage empathy or influence our habits of consumption.
Visualisation demonstrating line-of-sight searches to find points of interest
Version Bêta, Center for Contemporary Image, Geneva 2008
ICA, Singapore, 2010