The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid

18/05/2016 - 02/07/2016

Zilberman Gallery project space is pleased to announce Heba Y. Amin’s project exhibition “The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid” which will take place between 18 May and 2 July 2016.

“The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid” is a land surveillance project that utilizes Al-Bakri’s “Kitab al-Masalik wal-Mamalik” (Book of Roads and Kingdoms) -an eleventh-century geography text based on accounts of merchants, geologists and adventurers describing major trade routes in the Islamic empire- and converges it with the narratives of contemporary migration. The project looks specifically at current political constructs in Africa through land surveying and measuring techniques that have been employed along paths of migration for centuries. It attempts to place the contemporary migration story within the history of technological advancements and urban development. Through extensive road travel, cartographic research and landscape surveillance, the project visualizes these contemporary geographies and supplements them with constructed histories of the past.

The project confronts significant inventions in the history of construction and addresses the politics of landscape by utilizing the very tools used to build them. While better known as an instrument of measurement for urban construction, the ‘theodolite’ is also a precedent to telescopic rifles and other military weapons. Inherent in the tool itself are many troubling narratives, from the colonial construction of Africa to the militarized and violent tactics imposed on African migrants. Through the project, the notion of national sovereignty is explored in relation to the mobility of the body. The project unfolds as a photographic poem that portrays the perspectives of the landscape that bore witness to centuries of migratory traces.

For more information, please contact Zeynep Temiz at

Heba Y. Amin
is an Egyptian visual artist, researcher and, currently, visiting assistant professor at the American University in Cairo. She received her MFA at the University of Minnesota and is a DAAD grant recipient, a Rhizome Commissions grant winner and a recent short-listed artist for the Artraker prize. She is currently the curator of Visual Art for MIZNA (US), curator for the biennial residency program DEFAULT with Ramdom Association (IT) and co-founder of the Black Athena Collective. She is also one of the artists behind the subversive action on the set of the television series “Homeland” which received worldwide media attention. Amin’s artistic work has been shown worldwide. She also has an extensive repertoire in public speaking and has published several works. She lives between Berlin and Cairo.


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  - Heba Y. Amin