Measuring the Circle
2014, video, 21:25 minutes

Selected video stills

Installation includes: Ostomachion drawings and the sculptures The Grand Replica and The Brass Replica.

The single channel, split-screen video follows Ga’s braided narrative, her recorded voice bringing
the viewer on a journey weaving the history, mathematics, aesthetics and politics surrounding the
ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Throughout the video, the left-hand screen displays an archive of Lighthouse interpretations. Gathered in Alexandria, this archive includes dive footage, lighthouse iconography, audio interviews, and scientific publications. The silhouette of a hand layers transparent images onto a lightbox, in a rhythmic pattern of accumulation and dispersion. The right-hand screen makes use of the stomachion, a square divided into 14 pieces, which was invented by Archimedes, whose science and geometry are instrumental for the Lighthouse’s creation myth.
A hand laboriously tries to piece together fragments of images.

Despite its attempt to deconstruct the Lighthouse, Measuring the Circle results in a palimpsest, a process that preserves what it sets out to destroy. The impossibility of objective recreation leads to the emergence of a personal representation. Similarly, the video demonstrates how memories are continually fragmented and realigned, a unique metamorphosis which makes it impossible to disentangle the encounter from the evidence.

When the video is shown as an installation, the sculptures The Grand Replica and The Brass Replica are placed in proximity to the video. The ostentatiously decorated silver lighthouse and the minimal conception of the brass replica mark the opposing interpretations of the ancient wonder. The series of drawings Ostomachion illustrate a handful of the 14,000 permutations of Archimedes' stomachion.

Measuring the Circle, excerpt (first 5 minutes) from Ellie Ga on Vimeo.