From Earth to Globe

The inception of a global standard time in the 17th century, as a technological tool to allow for safer and expansive maritime exploration, can today be understood as one of many fundamental steps towards the conceptualisation of a global world. Globalization, the widespread term used today to describe our interconnected world of hypermobility and time-space compression[1], is also explained by philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy as a process that indicates an “enclosure in the undifferentiated sphere of a unitotality”. Nancy questions whether the phenomenon of globalisation leads to the giving birth of a world or to its contrary, to the proliferation of the un-world.[2]

This techno-science endeavour of reducing the Earth to a comprehensible manipulative entity coincides with the scientific revolution of the early modern period. During that period, known to start with the introduction of the Copernican model of the universe, western society’s view of nature is radically transformed with developments of mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry.

The representation of standard time on the globe is traced through the inscription of a mathematical grid onto the Earth. The Earth is reduced to an object that is sliced into 24 time zones across lines of longitude notating a one-hour difference between adjacent crescent-shaped areas of the world. The Earth is abstracted into a sliced solid geometry, a three-dimensional Euclidean space fit for exploration. The application of universal mathematics to the Earth paves the way to the introduction of a global system of logistics, automation and accelerated expansion of capital.


“Like a razor blade slicing through an eye”[3] Luis Bunuel

The exploitation of the Earth or the act of slicing a bodily organ.

[1] Terms used by Saskia Sassen in her article “Spatialities and Temporalities of the Global”, published in Public Culture 12(1), 2000. 221

[2] Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Creation of the World or Globalization. State University of New York Press. 2007. 2

[3] Bunuel as he describes his dream of a cloud slicing the moon to Salvador Dali while discussing their collaborative film project “Un chien andalou”. Bunuel states in a correspondence with Dali that he didn’t want any scene to symbolize anything, other than perhaps in a psychoanalytic way.

image credit:

One thought on “From Earth to Globe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s