29 May 2008

[hoaxen] You Know, That Had Me Wondering Too.


Via Dale at Faith In Honest Doubt I learned that the so-called "Biggest Drawing In The World", in which Swede Eric Nordenankar claimed to use a GPS-enabled package as his stylus and the world as his drawing paper is a hoax.

I'm not going to claim that I'm any more insightful than anyone else; indeed, in the beginning I was as impressed as anyone else. It certainly seemed possible. We know DHL goes all over the place; we know that GPS is what it is.

It's like Johnny Carson always said about jokes: buy the premise and you've bought the joke. Nordenankar was canny enough to offer us stuff we could buy, and perhaps our need to know something visionary and very silly happened got it the rest of the way. But in the story that broke the news of the hoax (via England's The Independent) we see something that bothered us, too:

But since releasing the drawing and details of his project earlier this month, bloggers were quick to accuse him of pushing a hoax.

Many pointed out that DHL delivery planes would have been highly unlikely to make the tight loops in the North Atlantic that form the hair of the self-portrait.

Others noted that many of the package's mid-route stops appear to be in the middle of the ocean.

"[He] could have at least centered the drawing over the land areas, so it would be more believable that DHL had made stops there, as opposed to a DHL plane making loop-the-loops out over the Atlantic," a reader called Shinanigans posted on the Neatorama blog.

"Were the DHL pilots on acid?" another asked.

Like I said, I wondered about that too.

I'm glad someone went to the trouble to point this out, actually. It goes from visionary art project to famous prank, and it didn't really hurt anyone (except maybe the artist, when DHL gets through with him; that's what you get for working without a net). Maybe it'll inspire someone to actually do something like it, who knows.

And so it goes.

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