AUTHOR: Brooklyn-based artist Clement Valla.
DESCRIPTION: Wandering on the immensity of Google Earth, Clement Valla found glitched images. Highways seem to be melting and bridges look like they are about to collapse in the water. The representation might be wrong but these images are not glitched per se. According to Clement Valla, they are the result of the algorithms at work behind Google Earth. The mapping service is a “database disguised as a photographic representation.” The “Universal Texture” used my Google to map the Earth mixes two-dimensional photographs with 3D topographic data. If the system works flawlessly, our brain, always looking for three-dimensionality and depth considers these images as anomalies. More than bizarre pieces of landscapes, the postcards unveil the maths at the core of Google Earth. Head over to Rhizome for a more detailed explanation of the “Universal Texture” phenomenon.
AMUSEMENT RATE: There is something of a Man vs Machine problematic at work in these images. The algorithm and the human eye have different representations of a same space but since each entity operates with its own set of rules, both are correct. The algorithm will probably be refined over and over to get one day the same conception of space than a human being. Google Earth will then be more accurate but we will no longer have these beautiful and quirky moments to admire.