The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid

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 Arabic geography text describing major trade routes in West Africa under the Islamic Empire. Today, the original manuscript only exists in fragments. In 2014, Heba Amin embarked on a five-month journey along the same routes, starting in Nigeria. With a theodolite, she documented the contemporary geographies of villages and cities missing from the manuscript. Using “Kitab al-Masalik wal-Mamalik” as a guide, the project critiques the authored accounts of merchants, traders and travelers who describe geographies through sexually explicit descriptions of the women they encounter. She secretly recorded her interactions with border-patrol officers to relay the flirty negotiations and sexual dynamics of bureaucratic hierarchy. Amin flips the male gaze by surveying and surveilling, critiquing the predatory view of landscape and the exoticization of women’s bodies in relation to geography.


Exhibition Catalog here:
For more information, please contact Zeynep Temiz at