Travelling Issues – Artists at Home, 2.
26 • 06 • 20Edit Barta - Judit Schuller
In the first instalment of our gallery series, “Artists at Home,” we looked at how people’s relationship to private space, to their homes, changed during the epidemic, with viewpoints offered by four contemporary artists. The second part of the series presents a project each by an Italian and a Swedish artist, who use stills and film produced by Google to highlight changes in how the world is perceived, and how you can take a journey in virtual space.
The use of the photos that have been produced by the special camera of Google’s car is not entirely new in contemporary art: in 2010 American artist Doug Rickard published an album, New American Picture, which included exclusively images of Google Street View, as does the Canadian Jon Rafman’s ongoing project, 9-eyes, which was begun in the 2000s; both collections are meant to call attention to violence and social problems in the world. While these works thematize significant social injustices of our present, their interest in photography (and the perception of reality, and vision) also brings about an examination of the medium.
Double Sunrise is a performance and video project by Swedish artist Johan F. Karlsson, who used Google Earth’s flight simulator to fly around the planet. The virtual journey, which lasted almost 20 hours, was taken in the copied world with the use of a VR headset. The project was named after the two sunrises the artist flew through, and is also a reference to a certificate from 1943, the Secret Order of the Double Sunrise, which was issued to those who took more than 24-hour-flight between Australia (and Ceylon, Sri Lanka), during which two sunrises could be observed.
“Delocalized from space, my body attempts in Double Sunrise to allow my mind to flow freely in a cyber-environment constructed exclusively from virtual images and for the purposes of orientation. During the performance, my interaction with my surroundings was determined by what I saw around myself, which slowly transformed the room itself into a map. I leave my body as matter behind, and as it reflexively responds to the images and the movement, I draw the horizons I see during my journey.”
Created in the spring of 2020, L'Italia della primavera is Italian artist Nicola Cordi’s attempt to portray his epidemic-struck homeland in lockdown via the stories of his friends and relatives, as well as those of complete strangers. In each case, a web camera was used to take shots of the participants, who, following the rules of social distancing, lived their daily lives in isolation. Additionally, they were asked to answer a short questionnaire. Every portrait is coupled with a Google Earth view of the area where the models isolated themselves, underlining the loneliness of the cities and their inhabitants. Find the stories below that were collected during this photographic journey through the deserted cities of Italy.
Bari. "From the window I see buildings (you can also see what happens in the apartments) and an internal courtyard, with trees, plants and many birds." (F.) "Tonight ... I hope not to be late." (M.)
Florence. „This morning, looking out the window, I get the same image of yesterday, the day before yesterday and probably also tomorrow. I see my street, which joins the main street, empty and in perfect order.” (A.)
Milano. „This night I dreamed about two men in my hall, I don’t know why they had entered the house. I tried to turn on the light but it didn’t work anymore. So I ran to the balcony to escape from there. I woke up paralyzed.” (S.)
Motta di Livenza. „I dreamed about me flying on the Rimini seafront! It was beautiful, I’ve never felt so light!” (M.)
Porto Potenza Picena. „This morning as a ritual I got up, drank coffee and smoked a cigarette.” L. „Since I'm in the hills I have a wide panorama, I see the woods, the village and the sea." (A.)
Venice. „Sometimes I dreamed of having sex with an ex. Sometimes about going back to study ancient Greek." (F.) „I think the thing I miss the most is the air, the wind, the sun on my face, the possibility of leaving the house and feeling safe.” (S.)