In 1969 artist Robert Smithson appropriated an illustrated map from Lewis Spence’s History of Atlantis and used it to form the basis for his installation Map of Broken Glass (Atlantis).
Smithson’s installation came in the wake of his failed Island of Broken Glass project, which would have seen several tonnes of broken glass piled on an Islet in the Georgia Straight.
When viewed from afar, and in direct sunlight, the installation was intended to affect a “shimmering collapse of decreased sharpness”.
In this light, the Map of Broken Glass (Atlantis) appears consolatory and captures all the pathos of the ‘unrealised project’.
The Lewis map presented here, once again in sculptural form, draws inspiration from our fascination with the spectacular and the romantic and dissociated wonder prevalent in John Glover’s Mount Wellington and Hobart Town from Kangaroo Point (1831-33).
Exploring how dangerous utopian notions permeate our current ideologies, NHCs presents a contemporary Atlantis - one standing at the height of its glory and boasting a spectacle so great that it can only warn of its own demise.