I’m a fan of artists using Google Earth or Street View images, such as Jon Rafman’s compelling Street View images or Google’s Street Art View. Here, check out Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth, Bridges” project. Google Earth renders bridges quite imperfectly, and when these images are shown together, they remind us that Google’s project is not a pure and perfect digital simulation of our world, but, instead, the creation of something new. Something that can be judged aesthetically on its own standards even if they are created as, to quote the artist, “the result of algorithmic processes and not of human aesthetic decision making.”
As readers of this blog know well, this new creation born out of the intersection of the physical and digital is what we refer to as “augmented reality.” Sometimes augmented reality is the reality we always find ourselves in: physical, but always and increasingly influenced by digitality. Sometimes this augmented reality is a collection of imperfectly rendered bridges. For me, Valla’s art provocatively reinforces this important theoretical conceptualization.
More augmented reality art: Augmented Ecologies; Siavosh Zabeti’s Facebook book; Michael Tompert’s photography of destroyed Apple products; Aram Bartholl’s embedding USB sticks into public spaces. And all of Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth, Bridges” are found here.