Google Earths Vertiginous Mapping

Craig at >> flip flop flying << has captured some perspectival freak-outs of patchworked data from Google Earth. The visual effect looks like a kind of Futurist mapping.

A mediums anomalies remind us that representations are never transparent. Even in apparently 'direct' means of representation such as satellite photography - which often feels like looking through a clear window - representation sometimes obscures and alters that which it intends to communicate. Here, the data 'stitching' process creates a kind of malfunction, or deviation to the images narrative - it's like the crackle on a vinyl record, the halftone in a printed image. These 'errors' flag the perceived 'innocence' of the imagery, revealing a manipulation of the source material. They tell us that although the sensation of the imagery may seem 'real', they are constructed views.

There is a tension here between the omnipresent viewpoint of the map and perspectival photographic imagery. It is reminiscent of early maps which combined different spatial arrangements in order to communicate relationships such as distance, scale and importance.

Posted by sam at March 28, 2007 4:23 PM


Um, and your point is what? Mapping is flawed? Yes, we all know this; the interrelations between objects on various types of maps all point to the flawed nature of representation. Google, on the other hand, offers not just FLAT maps, with these percieved differences, but contextualy accurate maps as well. For example, Google Earth provides much higher quality and more transparently stiched maps than does, say, No map will EVER be 100% accurate; the method by which we relay information, and the method by which we send that information in regards to landmarks on the map will always lead to misrepresentation. Thanks for the funky images, but really, what is your point?

Posted by: zackrspv on April 23, 2007 1:13 AM

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