Pat Naldi




High Noon at 12˚ 21' 8"

3 screen video projection.
Catalyst Arts, Belfast.


The video installation High Noon at 12˚ 21' 8", a project that engages directly with the crossover of science, religion, politics and art, features three separate pieces of video footage.
Each projection features and continuously repeats (visually and aurally) its own unique angle of the salvoe fired by the military cannon every day at noon in Rome - Imperial city of the Golden Milestone and precursor of cartographic road maps-.
Situated on the Gianicolo Hill, where the Roman army in1849 fought against the French troops for their Roman Republic, this daily gunfire informs the citizens that the sun, at that precise time, passes over the meridian of Rome – 12˚ 21' 8" -.

Having replaced the use of The Great Meridian, a solar clock located on the floor of the roman basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, in the 18th and 19th century the exact position of the sun at noon was signalled to the gunners by the Astronomic Observatory of the Roman College using a sundial and advising the gunners by letting down a big bronze ball from a slide bar.

Nowadays the gun is electronically triggered.

As historically the location of the sun in the sky was used for measuring direction, ocean travellers throughout the ages became familiar with the sight of the ship's officer "shooting the sun" at noon with a sextant to find the exact latitude of his ship. However, the only way to establish longitude is to compare local time with the time at the prime meridian - the key to longitude being time, the daily rotation of the Earth on its axis, degrees of longitude can be expressed as time, twenty-four hours divided into 360 equals four minutes which equals one degree of longitude -.

The first reasoned conception of the universe was made by the Babylonians (5th century B.C.) who introduced the sexagesimal system, dividing the circle of the sky into 360 degrees, the degrees into minutes and the minutes into seconds. Likewise the day into hours, minutes and seconds, thus relating the earth and sky and allowing the former to be plotted in relation to the stars in a constant and proportional manner.

Exhibited as a nine split-screen video projection in:
Responding to Rome, Estorick Collection, London, 2006.                                                
Responding to Rome
, International Rome Film Festival, 2011.



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