In reaction to a story by NPR’s Planet Money team about the financial collapse and its effect on Southwest Florida housing market, the The Big Picture photography column at Boston.com spent some time scouring Google Earth to document exactly how man-made structures and development planning has altered the land, coast and the way we cover that natural beauty we desire so much.
The resulting pictures show, in stunning simplicity, just how alien the natural landscape of Florida (or most of the Earth for that matter) has become. Ranging from densely-packed communities to barely finishing plotting, the photographs show the natural beauty of the land being lost, and mostly replaced by poorly-planned, short-term solution living situations. They also simultaneously insinuate humanity conquering nature like a plague of locusts, as well as demonstrate our efforts being over-run by nature, like every civilization of the past. (via boston.com)
On Tuesday, September 19th, 1989, UTA Flight 772, a French airline Union des Transports Aériens plane had a scheduled flight plan from Brazzaville in the People’s Republic of Congo, to N’Djamena in Chad, with a final destination of Paris CDG airport in France. The flight would end in tragedy, as a terrorist bomb went off near the front of the plane, causing a massive crash over the Sahara Desert near the town of Ténéré in Niger. All 155 passengers and 15 crew members on-board died.
The details of the memorial dedicated to terror victims of the crash has been filing around the internet recently, and was fantastically covered by a (uncredited?) writer at Viral Nova. “Eighteen years later, families of the victims gathered at the crash site to build a memorial. Due to the remoteness of the location, pieces of the wreckage could still be found at the site. The memorial was created by Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA, an association of the victims’ families along with the help of local inhabitants. The memorial was built mostly by hand and uses dark stones to create a 200-foot diameter circle. The Ténéré region is one of the most inaccessible places on the planet. The stones were trucked to the site from over 70 kilometers away. The memorial was built over the course of two months in May and June of 2007.”
“170 broken mirrors, representing each victim, were placed around the circumference of the memorial. The memorial is anchored by the starboard wing of the aircraft which was trucked to the site from 10 miles away. Workers had to dig up the wing and empty it of sand. The memorial was partly funded by the $170 million compensation package provided by the Libyan government [ed. the six terror suspects convicted were Libyan nationals, opposed to French involvement].“ Although an absolutely tragic story, the tale of this monument not only represents the resilience of the human spirit, but perhaps more importantly (and less clichéd) is the powerful human tendency to honor our loved ones. These kind of stories show people setting aside cultural/religious/ideological differences, and creating monuments or art together which will remain as a symbol of healing. (via viralnova)
Colleen Toutant Merrill works in fiber– from stitching to embroidery; and interestingly enough, it makes sense that she would use such a traditional folk medium to examine contemporary subject matter such as social media, Google, and Google Maps. These Internet resources are, essentially, a modern day electronic quilt of sorts, piecing together not only our societal curiosities or interests, but also our performative identities in a community.
On this note, Merrill explains, “Quilting bees and embroidery traditionally served as social outlets and communication. Quilts and embroidery both have encoded symbolism and explicit messages as do digital communications.”
The advent of Google maps was eventful for the general public – it became the first time most of us had access to these views of earth. However, it also turned out to be problematic for some governements. Some governments obscure areas they deem too sensitive to appear on Google maps. This is generally done by simple blurring or covering an area with a white or black box. In his series Dutch Landscapes, Mishka Henner presents the unique censorship of the Dutch countryside. The Dutch forgo simpler censorship methods for a strangely attractive one. Variously shaped and colored polygons cover sites the government would rather keep off the map. Inadvertently (or perhaps intentionally) the Dutch government abstracts the landscape in way that fits in well with an artistic tradition.
The project I’m Google from artist Dina Kelberman is strangely and hypnotically familiar. You’ve likely searched one topic on Wikipedia or Google that set off a long chain of searches each slightly related to the one preceding it. Hours later you’re nowhere near you began. In a way I’m Google is a visual representation of this in the form of a tumblog. Countless seemingly mundane photographs slowly transform in color, composition, content. However, slight changes over time build large ones; balloons slowly become crater lakes. It’s a familiar journey, and I’m Google is a fascinating visualization of it. [via]
Chris Milk has partnered up with Google to create this amazing interactive Arcade Fire “The Wilderness Downtown” music video. You put in the address of a home you grew up in, and through Google Maps, your childhood neighborhood is featured!