more ironic cartography!

April 27, 2008

ok, no map this time, but a project proposal:

paris’ axe historique runs from the pyramids of the louvre all the way to the grande arche de la défense several kilometres outside the city limits. in between the two, it passes through the carrousel, the tuileries gardens, the obelisk, the champs-élysées, and the arc de triomphe. it’s so exact that if you were to fire an invisible arrow down the line, it would pass through all those monuments.

as this axis is a straight line that is neither at 90º nor parallel to the equator, it creates a rhumb line, a line which, if extended, will keep spiraling around the globe, keeping the same angle relative to lines of longitude (meridians) until it reaches the poles (and, in theory, keeps wrapping around the pole infinitely). outside the world of pilots, mariners and other navigators, probably the most common application of this principle is when jews and muslims face towards their holy icons to pray (the western wall – last remaining vestige of the ancient temple in jerusalem – and the kaabah – the cuboid that houses the black stone – in mecca, respectively).

so, in a throwback to france’s past imperial dispositions, what if we were to play this game with the axe historique by extending it? by my rough calculations, france’s next imperial aspirations are either cork or limerick in ireland, basel in switzerland, trieste in italy, sofia in bulgaria, istanbul in turkey, jodhpur in india, much of cambodia, laos, thailand and vietnam (again), the philippines, fiji, the falkland islands and a big chunk of antarctica (’cause, y’know, france doesn’t claim any of it already).

funny to think that wild penguins are bound – theoretically – to sing la marseillaise by law.

this is the 150th post on twilight city. yay me.


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