Thomas Jefferson imagined a US divided into a perfect grid. One problem: the Earth is round
Following the Treaty of Paris in 1783, as the newly established United States was expanding westward, Thomas Jefferson proposed a simple solution for the mounting problem of how to organise new lands: democratically divide them into simple one-square-mile blocks. Today, vast swaths of land across the US have been divvied up in this fashion, but with one interesting wrinkle: because the Earth is round, the grid cannot rely on parallel lines or it would go wildly askew. A meditation on how our desire for order meets the realities of nature, this short video from the Dutch-born artist and filmmaker Gerco de Ruijter uses Google Earth images to track the intersections that, every 24 miles, correct the grid.
Director: Gerco de Ruijter