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Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map is an exploration of the intersection between Indigenous culture and 21st century cartography. FORM, a not for profit cultural organization was a recipient of the Google Earth Outreach grants program, which rewards organizations with outstanding mapping ideas to support the technical development of maps. The map was conceptualized and developed by Ngarluma Anthropologist Andrew Dowding and I as a result of our experience working and living with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara. The map was launched as part of an exhibition forming an interactive installation alongside objects of material culture and paintings, evoking an immersive experience in Ngarluma culture.
Ngarluma are the Indigenous people of the coastal areas around Roebourne (West Pilbara, Western Australia); their land encompasses the interior hills and tablelands to the east and sweeps across the river systems and the coastline to the west, which includes the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago. Ngarluma country is neighboured by Kariyarra, Yindjibarndi, Kuruma and Mardhuhunera. Digital mapping as we’ve applied it in the Ngarluma Ngurra project provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to capture on film and through other forms of documentation their understanding, memories and knowledge of place.
In building the map, Andrew, myself and vidoegrapher travelled with Ngarluma elders to sites on Country and places to which they were connected and wanted to be filmed and photographed. Elder Reg Sambo told us that he wanted to safeguard this information for the future. ‘I want to leave this story on tape for the next generation, so that they know the story of this place,’ he explained.
- Sharmila Wood, Curator
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map is an exploration of the intersection between Indigenous culture and 21st century cartography. FORM, a not for profit cultural organization was a recipient of the Google Earth Outreach grants program, which rewards organizations with outstanding mapping ideas to support the technical development of maps. The map was conceptualized and developed by Ngarluma Anthropologist Andrew Dowding and I as a result of our experience working and living with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara. The map was launched as part of an exhibition forming an interactive installation alongside objects of material culture and paintings, evoking an immersive experience in Ngarluma culture.
Ngarluma are the Indigenous people of the coastal areas around Roebourne (West Pilbara, Western Australia); their land encompasses the interior hills and tablelands to the east and sweeps across the river systems and the coastline to the west, which includes the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago. Ngarluma country is neighboured by Kariyarra, Yindjibarndi, Kuruma and Mardhuhunera. Digital mapping as we’ve applied it in the Ngarluma Ngurra project provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to capture on film and through other forms of documentation their understanding, memories and knowledge of place.
In building the map, Andrew, myself and vidoegrapher travelled with Ngarluma elders to sites on Country and places to which they were connected and wanted to be filmed and photographed. Elder Reg Sambo told us that he wanted to safeguard this information for the future. ‘I want to leave this story on tape for the next generation, so that they know the story of this place,’ he explained.
- Sharmila Wood, Curator
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map is an exploration of the intersection between Indigenous culture and 21st century cartography. FORM, a not for profit cultural organization was a recipient of the Google Earth Outreach grants program, which rewards organizations with outstanding mapping ideas to support the technical development of maps. The map was conceptualized and developed by Ngarluma Anthropologist Andrew Dowding and I as a result of our experience working and living with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara. The map was launched as part of an exhibition forming an interactive installation alongside objects of material culture and paintings, evoking an immersive experience in Ngarluma culture.
Ngarluma are the Indigenous people of the coastal areas around Roebourne (West Pilbara, Western Australia); their land encompasses the interior hills and tablelands to the east and sweeps across the river systems and the coastline to the west, which includes the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago. Ngarluma country is neighboured by Kariyarra, Yindjibarndi, Kuruma and Mardhuhunera. Digital mapping as we’ve applied it in the Ngarluma Ngurra project provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to capture on film and through other forms of documentation their understanding, memories and knowledge of place.
In building the map, Andrew, myself and vidoegrapher travelled with Ngarluma elders to sites on Country and places to which they were connected and wanted to be filmed and photographed. Elder Reg Sambo told us that he wanted to safeguard this information for the future. ‘I want to leave this story on tape for the next generation, so that they know the story of this place,’ he explained.
- Sharmila Wood, Curator
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map is an exploration of the intersection between Indigenous culture and 21st century cartography. FORM, a not for profit cultural organization was a recipient of the Google Earth Outreach grants program, which rewards organizations with outstanding mapping ideas to support the technical development of maps. The map was conceptualized and developed by Ngarluma Anthropologist Andrew Dowding and I as a result of our experience working and living with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara. The map was launched as part of an exhibition forming an interactive installation alongside objects of material culture and paintings, evoking an immersive experience in Ngarluma culture.
Ngarluma are the Indigenous people of the coastal areas around Roebourne (West Pilbara, Western Australia); their land encompasses the interior hills and tablelands to the east and sweeps across the river systems and the coastline to the west, which includes the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago. Ngarluma country is neighboured by Kariyarra, Yindjibarndi, Kuruma and Mardhuhunera. Digital mapping as we’ve applied it in the Ngarluma Ngurra project provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to capture on film and through other forms of documentation their understanding, memories and knowledge of place.
In building the map, Andrew, myself and vidoegrapher travelled with Ngarluma elders to sites on Country and places to which they were connected and wanted to be filmed and photographed. Elder Reg Sambo told us that he wanted to safeguard this information for the future. ‘I want to leave this story on tape for the next generation, so that they know the story of this place,’ he explained.
- Sharmila Wood, Curator
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map is an exploration of the intersection between Indigenous culture and 21st century cartography. FORM, a not for profit cultural organization was a recipient of the Google Earth Outreach grants program, which rewards organizations with outstanding mapping ideas to support the technical development of maps. The map was conceptualized and developed by Ngarluma Anthropologist Andrew Dowding and I as a result of our experience working and living with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara. The map was launched as part of an exhibition forming an interactive installation alongside objects of material culture and paintings, evoking an immersive experience in Ngarluma culture.
Ngarluma are the Indigenous people of the coastal areas around Roebourne (West Pilbara, Western Australia); their land encompasses the interior hills and tablelands to the east and sweeps across the river systems and the coastline to the west, which includes the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago. Ngarluma country is neighboured by Kariyarra, Yindjibarndi, Kuruma and Mardhuhunera. Digital mapping as we’ve applied it in the Ngarluma Ngurra project provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to capture on film and through other forms of documentation their understanding, memories and knowledge of place.
In building the map, Andrew, myself and vidoegrapher travelled with Ngarluma elders to sites on Country and places to which they were connected and wanted to be filmed and photographed. Elder Reg Sambo told us that he wanted to safeguard this information for the future. ‘I want to leave this story on tape for the next generation, so that they know the story of this place,’ he explained.
- Sharmila Wood, Curator
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map
Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map is an exploration of the intersection between Indigenous culture and 21st century cartography. FORM, a not for profit cultural organization was a recipient of the Google Earth Outreach grants program, which rewards organizations with outstanding mapping ideas to support the technical development of maps. The map was conceptualized and developed by Ngarluma Anthropologist Andrew Dowding and I as a result of our experience working and living with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara. The map was launched as part of an exhibition forming an interactive installation alongside objects of material culture and paintings, evoking an immersive experience in Ngarluma culture.
Ngarluma are the Indigenous people of the coastal areas around Roebourne (West Pilbara, Western Australia); their land encompasses the interior hills and tablelands to the east and sweeps across the river systems and the coastline to the west, which includes the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago. Ngarluma country is neighboured by Kariyarra, Yindjibarndi, Kuruma and Mardhuhunera. Digital mapping as we’ve applied it in the Ngarluma Ngurra project provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to capture on film and through other forms of documentation their understanding, memories and knowledge of place.
In building the map, Andrew, myself and vidoegrapher travelled with Ngarluma elders to sites on Country and places to which they were connected and wanted to be filmed and photographed. Elder Reg Sambo told us that he wanted to safeguard this information for the future. ‘I want to leave this story on tape for the next generation, so that they know the story of this place,’ he explained.
- Sharmila Wood, Curator

Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map

Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map is an exploration of the intersection between Indigenous culture and 21st century cartography. FORM, a not for profit cultural organization was a recipient of the Google Earth Outreach grants program, which rewards organizations with outstanding mapping ideas to support the technical development of maps. The map was conceptualized and developed by Ngarluma Anthropologist Andrew Dowding and I as a result of our experience working and living with Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara. The map was launched as part of an exhibition forming an interactive installation alongside objects of material culture and paintings, evoking an immersive experience in Ngarluma culture.

Ngarluma are the Indigenous people of the coastal areas around Roebourne (West Pilbara, Western Australia); their land encompasses the interior hills and tablelands to the east and sweeps across the river systems and the coastline to the west, which includes the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago. Ngarluma country is neighboured by Kariyarra, Yindjibarndi, Kuruma and Mardhuhunera. Digital mapping as we’ve applied it in the Ngarluma Ngurra project provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to capture on film and through other forms of documentation their understanding, memories and knowledge of place.

In building the map, Andrew, myself and vidoegrapher travelled with Ngarluma elders to sites on Country and places to which they were connected and wanted to be filmed and photographed. Elder Reg Sambo told us that he wanted to safeguard this information for the future. ‘I want to leave this story on tape for the next generation, so that they know the story of this place,’ he explained.

- Sharmila Wood, Curator

6 Photos
/ cartography google maps google earth exhibits sharmila wood Form
Google Faces by Onformative Studio
“Pareidolia" is a Greek*-based term that describes the human psychological tendency to find recognizable images or sounds in otherwise random places. Whether searching for shapes in the clouds or trying to find the Man in the Moon, we fixate on those hidden human moments and infuse certain landscapes and objects with new symbolic life. Instances of pareidolia can be incredibly powerful, especially when the images we see take on religious significance. More often than not, the images we see (or perhaps more accurately, those we look for) take on human form –  a body, a face – and satisfy both our delusions and our imaginations. 
Design studio Onformative has launched its Google Faces project to explore this strange phenomenon by engaging our collective fascination with personifying geographical formations. Described as “an independent searching agent hovering the world,” the project taps into Google Earth satellite images to find faces in the planet’s wide and varied geography. Google Faces has developed a face-recognition algorithm used to detect face-like shapes on the Earth’s surface, and the program continues to scour the globe finding the most human-like formations; here, “objective investigations and subjective imagination collide to one inseparable process.”
 To view more images collected from Onformative’s Google Faces, see the web page here. And, you can check out more popular instances of pareidolia like the Three Sisters cliff formation in Australia, the Face on Mars, and the famous Grilled Cheese Jesus that sold on Ebay.
- Erin Saunders
*the word comes from the Greek and not Latin, as previously stated.
Google Faces by Onformative Studio
“Pareidolia" is a Greek*-based term that describes the human psychological tendency to find recognizable images or sounds in otherwise random places. Whether searching for shapes in the clouds or trying to find the Man in the Moon, we fixate on those hidden human moments and infuse certain landscapes and objects with new symbolic life. Instances of pareidolia can be incredibly powerful, especially when the images we see take on religious significance. More often than not, the images we see (or perhaps more accurately, those we look for) take on human form –  a body, a face – and satisfy both our delusions and our imaginations. 
Design studio Onformative has launched its Google Faces project to explore this strange phenomenon by engaging our collective fascination with personifying geographical formations. Described as “an independent searching agent hovering the world,” the project taps into Google Earth satellite images to find faces in the planet’s wide and varied geography. Google Faces has developed a face-recognition algorithm used to detect face-like shapes on the Earth’s surface, and the program continues to scour the globe finding the most human-like formations; here, “objective investigations and subjective imagination collide to one inseparable process.”
 To view more images collected from Onformative’s Google Faces, see the web page here. And, you can check out more popular instances of pareidolia like the Three Sisters cliff formation in Australia, the Face on Mars, and the famous Grilled Cheese Jesus that sold on Ebay.
- Erin Saunders
*the word comes from the Greek and not Latin, as previously stated.
Google Faces by Onformative Studio
“Pareidolia" is a Greek*-based term that describes the human psychological tendency to find recognizable images or sounds in otherwise random places. Whether searching for shapes in the clouds or trying to find the Man in the Moon, we fixate on those hidden human moments and infuse certain landscapes and objects with new symbolic life. Instances of pareidolia can be incredibly powerful, especially when the images we see take on religious significance. More often than not, the images we see (or perhaps more accurately, those we look for) take on human form –  a body, a face – and satisfy both our delusions and our imaginations. 
Design studio Onformative has launched its Google Faces project to explore this strange phenomenon by engaging our collective fascination with personifying geographical formations. Described as “an independent searching agent hovering the world,” the project taps into Google Earth satellite images to find faces in the planet’s wide and varied geography. Google Faces has developed a face-recognition algorithm used to detect face-like shapes on the Earth’s surface, and the program continues to scour the globe finding the most human-like formations; here, “objective investigations and subjective imagination collide to one inseparable process.”
 To view more images collected from Onformative’s Google Faces, see the web page here. And, you can check out more popular instances of pareidolia like the Three Sisters cliff formation in Australia, the Face on Mars, and the famous Grilled Cheese Jesus that sold on Ebay.
- Erin Saunders
*the word comes from the Greek and not Latin, as previously stated.
Google Faces by Onformative Studio
“Pareidolia" is a Greek*-based term that describes the human psychological tendency to find recognizable images or sounds in otherwise random places. Whether searching for shapes in the clouds or trying to find the Man in the Moon, we fixate on those hidden human moments and infuse certain landscapes and objects with new symbolic life. Instances of pareidolia can be incredibly powerful, especially when the images we see take on religious significance. More often than not, the images we see (or perhaps more accurately, those we look for) take on human form –  a body, a face – and satisfy both our delusions and our imaginations. 
Design studio Onformative has launched its Google Faces project to explore this strange phenomenon by engaging our collective fascination with personifying geographical formations. Described as “an independent searching agent hovering the world,” the project taps into Google Earth satellite images to find faces in the planet’s wide and varied geography. Google Faces has developed a face-recognition algorithm used to detect face-like shapes on the Earth’s surface, and the program continues to scour the globe finding the most human-like formations; here, “objective investigations and subjective imagination collide to one inseparable process.”
 To view more images collected from Onformative’s Google Faces, see the web page here. And, you can check out more popular instances of pareidolia like the Three Sisters cliff formation in Australia, the Face on Mars, and the famous Grilled Cheese Jesus that sold on Ebay.
- Erin Saunders
*the word comes from the Greek and not Latin, as previously stated.

Google Faces by Onformative Studio

Pareidolia" is a Greek*-based term that describes the human psychological tendency to find recognizable images or sounds in otherwise random places. Whether searching for shapes in the clouds or trying to find the Man in the Moon, we fixate on those hidden human moments and infuse certain landscapes and objects with new symbolic life. Instances of pareidolia can be incredibly powerful, especially when the images we see take on religious significance. More often than not, the images we see (or perhaps more accurately, those we look for) take on human form –  a body, a face – and satisfy both our delusions and our imaginations. 

Design studio Onformative has launched its Google Faces project to explore this strange phenomenon by engaging our collective fascination with personifying geographical formations. Described as “an independent searching agent hovering the world,” the project taps into Google Earth satellite images to find faces in the planet’s wide and varied geography. Google Faces has developed a face-recognition algorithm used to detect face-like shapes on the Earth’s surface, and the program continues to scour the globe finding the most human-like formations; here, “objective investigations and subjective imagination collide to one inseparable process.”

 To view more images collected from Onformative’s Google Faces, see the web page here. And, you can check out more popular instances of pareidolia like the Three Sisters cliff formation in Australia, the Face on Mars, and the famous Grilled Cheese Jesus that sold on Ebay.

- Erin Saunders

*the word comes from the Greek and not Latin, as previously stated.

4 Photos
/ art science google earth onformative illusion satellite images
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth”
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth” is a collection of surreal and seemingly paradoxical images drawn directly from Google Earth. The series captures bizarre snapshots of moments in which this software’s representations of our planet’s landscapes seem to have missed the mark. Valla explains these anomalies as instances of “competing visual inputs”: the 3D modellings of Earth’s surfaces fail to align with their corresponding aerial photography.
He points out that although these images would appear to be the result of an error in programming, they are, in fact, manifestations of the unique process by which Google Earth visually represents our physical geography:
“The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  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 are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.”
For a more extensive exploration of the project, written by Valla himself, read “The Universal Texture,” published through Rhizome.
For an A&SJ post on a similar theme, read Erin Saunders’s post about Mishka Henner’s Dutch Landscapes.
- Melissa Daly-Buajitti
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth”
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth” is a collection of surreal and seemingly paradoxical images drawn directly from Google Earth. The series captures bizarre snapshots of moments in which this software’s representations of our planet’s landscapes seem to have missed the mark. Valla explains these anomalies as instances of “competing visual inputs”: the 3D modellings of Earth’s surfaces fail to align with their corresponding aerial photography.
He points out that although these images would appear to be the result of an error in programming, they are, in fact, manifestations of the unique process by which Google Earth visually represents our physical geography:
“The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  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 are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.”
For a more extensive exploration of the project, written by Valla himself, read “The Universal Texture,” published through Rhizome.
For an A&SJ post on a similar theme, read Erin Saunders’s post about Mishka Henner’s Dutch Landscapes.
- Melissa Daly-Buajitti
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth”
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth” is a collection of surreal and seemingly paradoxical images drawn directly from Google Earth. The series captures bizarre snapshots of moments in which this software’s representations of our planet’s landscapes seem to have missed the mark. Valla explains these anomalies as instances of “competing visual inputs”: the 3D modellings of Earth’s surfaces fail to align with their corresponding aerial photography.
He points out that although these images would appear to be the result of an error in programming, they are, in fact, manifestations of the unique process by which Google Earth visually represents our physical geography:
“The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  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 are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.”
For a more extensive exploration of the project, written by Valla himself, read “The Universal Texture,” published through Rhizome.
For an A&SJ post on a similar theme, read Erin Saunders’s post about Mishka Henner’s Dutch Landscapes.
- Melissa Daly-Buajitti
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth”
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth” is a collection of surreal and seemingly paradoxical images drawn directly from Google Earth. The series captures bizarre snapshots of moments in which this software’s representations of our planet’s landscapes seem to have missed the mark. Valla explains these anomalies as instances of “competing visual inputs”: the 3D modellings of Earth’s surfaces fail to align with their corresponding aerial photography.
He points out that although these images would appear to be the result of an error in programming, they are, in fact, manifestations of the unique process by which Google Earth visually represents our physical geography:
“The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  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 are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.”
For a more extensive exploration of the project, written by Valla himself, read “The Universal Texture,” published through Rhizome.
For an A&SJ post on a similar theme, read Erin Saunders’s post about Mishka Henner’s Dutch Landscapes.
- Melissa Daly-Buajitti
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth”
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth” is a collection of surreal and seemingly paradoxical images drawn directly from Google Earth. The series captures bizarre snapshots of moments in which this software’s representations of our planet’s landscapes seem to have missed the mark. Valla explains these anomalies as instances of “competing visual inputs”: the 3D modellings of Earth’s surfaces fail to align with their corresponding aerial photography.
He points out that although these images would appear to be the result of an error in programming, they are, in fact, manifestations of the unique process by which Google Earth visually represents our physical geography:
“The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  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 are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.”
For a more extensive exploration of the project, written by Valla himself, read “The Universal Texture,” published through Rhizome.
For an A&SJ post on a similar theme, read Erin Saunders’s post about Mishka Henner’s Dutch Landscapes.
- Melissa Daly-Buajitti
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth”
Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth” is a collection of surreal and seemingly paradoxical images drawn directly from Google Earth. The series captures bizarre snapshots of moments in which this software’s representations of our planet’s landscapes seem to have missed the mark. Valla explains these anomalies as instances of “competing visual inputs”: the 3D modellings of Earth’s surfaces fail to align with their corresponding aerial photography.
He points out that although these images would appear to be the result of an error in programming, they are, in fact, manifestations of the unique process by which Google Earth visually represents our physical geography:
“The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  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 are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.”
For a more extensive exploration of the project, written by Valla himself, read “The Universal Texture,” published through Rhizome.
For an A&SJ post on a similar theme, read Erin Saunders’s post about Mishka Henner’s Dutch Landscapes.
- Melissa Daly-Buajitti

Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth”

Clement Valla’s “Postcards from Google Earth” is a collection of surreal and seemingly paradoxical images drawn directly from Google Earth. The series captures bizarre snapshots of moments in which this software’s representations of our planet’s landscapes seem to have missed the mark. Valla explains these anomalies as instances of “competing visual inputs”: the 3D modellings of Earth’s surfaces fail to align with their corresponding aerial photography.

He points out that although these images would appear to be the result of an error in programming, they are, in fact, manifestations of the unique process by which Google Earth visually represents our physical geography:

The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  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 are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.

For a more extensive exploration of the project, written by Valla himself, read “The Universal Texture,” published through Rhizome.

For an A&SJ post on a similar theme, read Erin Saunders’s post about Mishka Henner’s Dutch Landscapes.

- Melissa Daly-Buajitti

6 Photos
/ clement valla google earth postcards from google earth technology and geography art science

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