...because human existence is conditioned existence, it would be impossible without things, and things would be a heap of unrelated articles, a non-world, if they were not the conditioners of human existence.
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to be as it is, infinite.
My work attempts to momentarily render humanity legible to itself by mining the surplus, latent value of secondhand imagery, mostly from Google Maps, but also from Youtube, Craigslist, and other sites. The value of this imagery has to do with the way the it happens to reflect us, obliquely and in a way more accurately than otherwise possible, in an environment so familiar it has become nearly invisible to us. The result is something like the most candid photo possible: we, and our world of things, are captured in an arbitrary moment by a mechanized camera on a satellite or on top of a car, or by a tourist who meant the photo to be of something else.
This shift in perspective can make visible to us the utter strangeness of everything, including ourselves. It creates a moment of openness, a temporary alienation that allows us to see our world as the bizarre, specific place it has become, before the old familiarity settles back in. At best, this removal can effect what Walter Benjamin once described as "blasting" an image from the historical continuum, in some cases allowing us to really see it for the first time. But we can also faintly see something else, if only by inference or implication: all of the things the world has not become and, most importantly, all of the things it could become.
In this way, the shift in perspective has political consequences, in the broadest sense of the word 'political.' Speaking of dialectical images, Benjamin gave the example of the image of a bomber plane superimposed on DaVinci's drawing of a flying machine -- which DaVinci envisioned using "in order to look for snow on the mountain summits, and then return to scatter it over city streets shimmering with the heat of summer." First comes the realization that history is not linear and that each moment of the past existed in a field of possibilities (as in the early, undefined stages of a technology). Second is the realization of the ways in which many of those often utopian possibilities were betrayed over time and in the present. For a moment, a hole is made in the idea of historical determinism. So any act of removal from habitual ways of seeing is political to the extent to which it reopens the original field of possibilities -- a field in which the viewer suddenly awakens to find him- or herself necessarily an agent of choice or imagination.My work does not comment "on" technology per se, but uses technology as a tool to discover something that is, in my opinion, more pressing. I am only interested in the oblique view of Google Satellite (and other secondhand imagery) to the extent that it reveals something useful about the lived present. For me, the redeeming capacity of the digital is as a means for a return to the real. Paul Virilio said, "this is the end of the outside world." But when spatial, temporal reality as we know it is becoming a no-man's land (simply look at a train car full of people looking at and listening to their phones), the irony is that the same apparatuses, abstractions and information that ensare us also have the ability to return us to reality with a new perspective-- to give us new eyes for reality. This transmutation is what my work attempts.