The depiction of search results has become so very aesthetic through the image option of Google American journalist Rob Walker has gone so far as to ‘curate’ various searches on his tumblr, depicting the range of visuals, the information has become harmonious in its depiction. It’s like a microcosm of metadata, only colourful and shapely.
In a different approach, the artist Jenny Odell has created collections of items seen in particular geographic areas through Google maps; for example her piece directly below, Every Basketball Court in Manhattan. Her compositions are light and dense, with an attention to detail and negative space. On her website she draws attention to the concept of the human/ inhuman gaze of the viewer versus the satellite.
“In all of these prints, I collect things that I’ve cut out from Google Satellite View– parking lots, silos, landfills, waste ponds. The view from a satellite is not a human one, nor is it one we were ever really meant to see. But it is precisely from this inhuman point of view that we are able to read our own humanity, in all of its tiny, repetitive marks upon the face of the earth. From this view, the lines that make up basketball courts and the scattered blue rectangles of swimming pools become like hieroglyphs that say: people were here.
The alienation provided by the satellite perspective reveals the things we take for granted to be strange, even absurd. Banal structures and locations can appear fantastical and newly intricate. Directing curiosity toward our own inimitably human landscape, we may find that those things that are most recognizably human (a tangle of carefully engineered water slides, for example) are also the most bizarre, the most unlikely, the most fragile.”
125 Swimming Pools
10 Waterslide Configurations