Google Earths Vertiginous Mapping

Craig at >> flip flop flying << has captured some perspectival freak-outs of patchworked data from Google Earth. The visual effect looks like a kind of Futurist mapping.

A mediums anomalies remind us that representations are never transparent. Even in apparently ‘direct’ means of representation such as satellite photography – which often feels like looking through a clear window – representation sometimes obscures and alters that which it intends to communicate. Here, the data ‘stitching’ process creates a kind of malfunction, or deviation to the images narrative – it’s like the crackle on a vinyl record, the halftone in a printed image. These ‘errors’ flag the perceived ‘innocence’ of the imagery, revealing a manipulation of the source material. They tell us that although the sensation of the imagery may seem ‘real’, they are constructed views.

There is a tension here between the omnipresent viewpoint of the map and perspectival photographic imagery. It is reminiscent of early maps which combined different spatial arrangements in order to communicate relationships such as distance, scale and importance.


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