Artist Clement Valla Collects Uncanny Google Earth Images

“Postcards from Google Earth” is a collection of strange images by Brooklyn-based artist Clement Valla who scours Google Earth in search of ruptures in its “universal texture”, the mapping method used by google to generate models of the planet’s surfaces.
Clement Valla: “I collect Google Earth images. I discovered strange moments where the illusion of a seamless representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. 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 reveal a new model of representation: not through indexical photographs but through automated data collection from a myriad of different sources constantly updated and endlessly combined to create a seamless illusion; Google Earth is a database disguised as a photographic representation. These uncanny images focus our attention on that process itself, and the network of algorithms, computers, storage systems, automated cameras, maps, pilots, engineers, photographers, surveyors and map-makers that generate them”.

Artist Clement Valla collects uncanny Google Earth images
Los Angeles, California

Artist Clement Valla collects uncanny Google Earth images

Artist Clement Valla collects uncanny Google Earth images
Valley Pass
Artist Clement Valla collects uncanny Google Earth images
Deception Pass, Washington, USA
Artist Clement Valla collects uncanny Google Earth images
Catskills, New York, USA

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