Posts for July 2012

The Universal Texture


Images via Clement Valla.

These artists (...) counter the database, understood as a structure of dehumanized power, with the collection, as a form of idiosyncratic, unsystematic, and human memory. They collect what interests them, whatever they feel can and should be included in a meaning system. They describe, critique, and finally challenge the dynamics of the database, forcing it to evolve.1

I collect Google Earth images. I discovered them by accident, these particularly strange snapshots, where the illusion of a seamless and accurate representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. I was Google Earth-ing, when I noticed that a striking number of buildings looked like they were upside down. I could tell there were two competing visual inputs here —the 3D model that formed the surface of the earth, and the mapping of the aerial photography; they didn't match up. Depth cues in the aerial photographs, like shadows and lighting, were not aligning with the depth cues of the 3D model.

The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  At first, I thought they were glitches, or errors in the algorithm, but looking closer, I realized the situation was actually more interesting — these images are not glitches. They are the absolute logical result of the system. They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error. These jarring moments expose how Google Earth works, focusing our attention on the software. They are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.

3D Images like those in Google Earth are generated through a process called texture mapping.... 



More Chris Marker Online



Continuing our tribute to Chris Marker, here is GORGOMANCY, his flash website that debuted last year. It contains a version of his CD-ROM Immemory, his video tour of Ouvroir, and the entirety of his 1989 miniseries L'Héritage de la Chouette (The Owl's Legacy), a record of a 13-part symposium on Ancient Greece supported by the Onassis Foundation.

From Stopover in Dubai

GORGOMANCY also hosts Marker's secretive film Stopover in Dubai. Stopover is the haunting reconstruction of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's murder in September 2010. It utilizes security camera footage throughout, emphasizing the frigid complicity between surveillance and violence.


It's also worth mentioning here that Marker had an impressive Youtube presence as the user Kosinski. Recent work of his can be found there, including Kino, his short history of cinema, visible above. All of these works illustrate the reach of Marker's mastery and importance as an artist.


Guest Blogger for the Week: Jason Huff


Photo by Laura Swanson

Jason, our former editorial fellow, is back to guest blog while Joanne is on vacation this week. He is a practicing artist, writer, and designer who originally hails from Georgia but now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Last year he graduated with a Masters in Fine Art in Digital + Media from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work is currently featured in Daphne, a show at FJORD gallery in Philadelphia, PA that opened this month. Keep an eye out for American Pyscho, a collaborative piece he completed with Mimi Cabell scheduled to be published later this year by Traumawien. His work is also included in the Special Collections at the Whitney Museum of American Art.