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Warped Google Earth Images Resemble Dali Masterpieces

Brooklyn based artist discovers a hidden feature of Google Earth.

Ross Brooks
Ross Brooks on April 3, 2013. @greenidealism

You are probably familiar with Google Earth and how immeasurably interesting it can be using the service to take a look at places you may one day want to visit, or places you can’t visit, such as the bottom of the ocean. However, a new art project highlights certain geographic areas that viewers will never be able to visit — primarily because they don’t exist.

Artist Clement Valla has created a collection of images from Google Earth featuring landscapes that have been warped into unusual shapes, with roads dipping into the landscape and bridges plunging into bodies of water, cause by the way the images were captured.

This is all due to the way Google Earth works, it’s algorithm creates a 3D model of what you’re looking at using aerial photography and other images. Normally this produces seamless models, but occasionally a photograph was taken at too steep an angle or the light was refracted in a strange way that day. This results in upside-down bridges or roads that undulate through a hilly section of land.

Valla finds these images so interesting, because like much of his other work, they expose the “edge” of an algorithm. The point at which it is still doing what it’s supposed to, but the results aren’t what you expect. He finds this idea fascinating, especially when you consider there will come a point where algorithms are in control of more than just images, but also aspects of our daily lives.

Postcards From Google Earth

 

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