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Oceanus, 2021

145 x 145cm, Artificial Intelligence


In the ancient Greek cosmogony the River Oceanus was a great, fresh-water stream which encircled the flat disc of the earth. It was the source of all of the earth’s fresh-water–from the rivers and springs which drew their waters from it through subterranean aquifers to the clouds which dipped below the horizon to collect their moisture from its stream.

Oceanus also marked the outer boundary of the flat earth which it surrounded with a “nine-fold” stream. The sun, moon, and stars rose all from and set into its waters. At night the sun-god would sail around its northern reach in a golden boat to reach his rising place in the east from his setting in the west. In a cosmological sense the river symbolised the eternal flow of time.

Beyond Oceanus lay a dark and misty shore–the farthest edge of the cosmos; a place where the great sky-dome rested its hard edge upon the flat earth and where, from below, the walls of the great pit of Tartaros rose up to meet the earth and sky. Together the sky dome and Tartarean pit formed a great sphere, or egg-shaped ovoid, which enclosed the entire cosmos. Within it was divided into two equal hemispheres by the flat earth. The world above was the home of gods and men, the world below of the Titans. Hades, the realm of the dead, was often located on the outer rim of the earth, on the gloomy far shore of Oceanus beyond the setting sun.