Craft & Design Robotics

Nazca City” is a land art project, the drawing of a true scale map of an imaginary city onto the surface of the Peruvian desert. To do this we built a robot which moves autonomously, plowing the ground to uncover its underlying color. Because of its scale, the map can only be appreciated as a whole from certain a height by means of airplane or satellite imaging.

The project is inspired by the gigantic figures drawn onto the desert by the ancient Nazca culture (200 BC – 600 AD), which can still be seen today. It invites to reflect upon the explosive urbanization of the deserts of the Peruvian coast, taking place since the middle of the last century, and its consequences on environmental sustainability and the quality of living.

Be sure to read the interview on on We Make Money Not Art (via).

14 thoughts on “Drawing an Imaginary City on the Desert

  1. Wait, why square blocks?  Why not a ridiculously intricate design?  Why not a 3D magic eye that can only be viewed from a nearby mountain?  A little more frivolity, please. 

  2. I am having a hard time seeing this “laying a foundation” for anything. Its pretty art, but not much more. How would drawing big shapes in the desert help people envision a future on that land? It would only help out people prospecting the land, and seeing as there is nothing there but dirt and death I am willing to bet there aren’t many prospectors.

    This is art, not magnificent pre-architecture.

  3. I am having a hard time seeing this “laying a foundation” for anything. Its pretty art, but not much more. How would drawing big shapes in the desert help people envision a future on that land? It would only help out people prospecting the land, and seeing as there is nothing there but dirt and death I am willing to bet there aren’t many prospectors.

    This is art, not magnificent pre-architecture.

    1. Not all deserts have that sort of crust. As you can see the sand here is very uncompacted, similar to sand dunes. All the hubbub about damaging desert ecosystems by ruining the crust is where there is actually _life_ growing there. There is no water, there are no plants, not even lichens.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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