Lost

Lost. I like getting lost in these Google Street View images. More than that I think I would really like to drive the car around and take the pictures in obscure, outback places. It might be a bit frightening but it also would be very cool. Every now and again I could stop and take my own shots with the camera.

I’ll be more diligent as I collect these, however I’ve forgotten where this one is. The coolest thing about it was the fact that this is where the Google Car stopped and stopped taking pictures. I wonder if the driver just got freaked out?

 

The shot below is taken from  a Google Camera that I’m pretty sure is on snowmobile. If you do the traditional Street View on this portion of the map in Norway you can see the Snowmobiles in front and behind of the camera vehicle. This is a shot off to the side of a very desolate but very “highway like” 20 or 30 lane snowmobile track. Very cool.

I’ve seen a lot of internet/web based art projects. I’ve seen a lot where they just troll around and take Google Maps Street View images and relate them together. There’s something about it that’s attracting me now. It’s weird but I think I’d enjoy this type of work. Simply documenting for documentations sake. Mapping the world in a whole new way.

It makes me think that I could create a project that reverses the scope of these current Google projects. I could simply pick a square metre of land and map that out in macro. You could zoom into the crazy detail of soil and ground like you do in street view, but I’m not quite sure how to create “roads”. Maybe I could create my own.

This is in Japan on the tip of an Island called Ishigaki. I can make the photos actually look pretty good. I’ll keep exploring and posting. I think this one is another of Japan. As I mentioned, I was getting lost.

I love the composition in the following shot from Alaska. It’s not the easiest thing to find a compelling vantage point and a suitably interesting subject that fits with my general aesthetic. This is my favourite to date. Although the little dirt pile from Japan is pretty well arranged.

I have a system for finding these. Basically I look at the Google map of the world then drag the Streetview icon onto the page which then shows in which countries and areas Streetview has been done. In general you have to stay away from mainland U.S.A.  This would have been the first market to get shot by Google and the quality of the images reflects this. A favourite area is Finland. I’ve always been curious about Finnish culture so it seems natural to explore. For this image I just looked for costal areas and for the distinctive blue network of lines that is Streetview. Then I dropped the little man icon as far to the north as I can go, usually at the end of a particular photographic route. That’s how I found this rather desolate wind farm at lands end Norway.

Taiwan is a more recent interest. I was staying away from cities but now find it very similar to exploring on foot here in Toronto. This opens a world of possibilities. The image below I found on a series of roads that run along the path pof various rivers in the city. This is a break wall between the river and the street, I’m not sure who the little house is for, but my guess is it might just be a rain shed for local fishermen who worked the river. It could also be some sort of observation booth for when the water levels rise.

Kunagami District in Japan looks beautiful. The roads that traverse the coast are beautiful and seem relatively quite and almost rural. There are tons of tunnels through mountains in this region as well. I love this incursion of road into nature and that the engineers actually figured out it would look amazing if they left the rocky outcropping at the side of the highway.

This is on Cape Collinson on Hong Kong Island. This road actually ends at the entrance to a barbed wired high fenced correctional facility. I liked this image because of the two forks of the pathway climbing the side of the mountain and the rocky outcropping in the background. This in combination with the knowledge of the prison just a short way off adds to the interest for me.

I spent a while exploring Singapore. The following shots are what I think of as digital signatures from the Google Car drivers of Singapore. The only way you can find these Google Streetview images is to zoom in on the Singapore section and when you pull the Streetview icon across onto the map you look for single dots of blue Streetview legend. Each of these dots seems to be labeled with a photographers name and when you take a look at each spot it shows a different single photo view rather than the traveling camera views from the top of cars. I think these are the Google photographers fooling around and leaving their marks on the maps. Whatever they are I find them fascinating. The image below captures my imagination because the women are strangely dissected by the camera’s capture methods. These ghostly images are very cool.

The couple on the beach had the signature for Charles Momeny and I particularly liked this composition and the vouyeristic nature of the shot itself. 

More recently I’ve been traveling through Bulgaria. Here’s a nice sort of Holiday Inn Art Sale sort of image.

and someplace in Russia

 

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Google Map of My Brain

Google Map of My Brain is just some weird idea I got the other day that resonated and I decided on this crazy snow day in February to try and execute it. I’m pretty happy with the results but I haven’t lived with them yet.

I started with the image below. I just grabbed a pin image from the internet and then cut it out of the background.

Then I replicated it about 3000 times and placed each replicated image around my canvas in Photoshop. It was sort of like painting, but all the time I was doing it I was feeling sort of uneasy about the process. It seemed rather obsessive and perhaps even a little unbalanced to spend hours doing this, but then again I like the results. To get a better idea you can see a bigger image if you click on it.

For some reason I was going to call it “You Are Here” or something humorous like that, but then I started imagining it as a three dimensional image and it began to take shape as a hypothetical map of brain. So it becomes Google Map of my Brain. I’m sure they’ll be doing this some day. The strange thing is I wanted to do something way back when with an actual picture of my brain. The image below is an MRI of my cranium. When I first saw the image it looked so strange that I wanted to covert it into a series of giant interlocking pillows and make a floor standing sculpture.

I think I’ll do more shit like this. I’ll also try and print this multiple pin image. The actual piece is huge. It’s 66 x 66 inches, and you can see the imperfections in my process more.

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Squared

Squared is based on one of the ideas for Made. Made is a planned exhibition for January 2014.

This started with the ideas for another project called Tarps and then just sort of morphed into a project that becomes more math than I ever thought I’d be interested again. I like to think of Squared as based in the photographic but tied to painting, colour theory, and sculpture.

Squared Squares or Squaring the Square is a mathematical problem. Basically the premis is to create a square made of different squares, none of which can be the same size. I discovered this—not because I knew about the problem but—because I simply wanted to achieve the Squared Squares thing and I didn’t know how to do it.  I stumbled upon the Global Constraint Catalogue simply by searching for squared squares. I’m very happy I did. I haven’t read through the details on that site but I did come across a diagram that visualized what I was thinking about.

The above image from the Global Constraints Catalogue depicts the simplest proof for Squaring the Square where 21 different size squares are used to create a perfect larger square. Below I’ve converted the diagram above into a Sketch Up digram just because I’m feeling guilty for stealing someone else’s work.

The first part of my plan is to figure out how this math proof works so I can create the simple Square of Squares without just copying it.

My Square of Squares is 3D, because I started seeing it this way as more of a sculpture. I’ve since discovered that a Cube of Cubes is actually impossible. This became clear to me when I understood the simple idea of a proof by infinite decent. It will be cool to see if I can understand why, but I digress. The above structure is the premis for Squared.

I’d like to create a larger work like the 3D rendering above and below. It will end up two dimensional more like the first illustration, made of 21 different pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. I’ve been mulling the idea of making these pieces out of stretcher frames with wood panel facings to paint on. I was going to make them out of stretched canvas but the added material of the canvas stretched around the frame would no doubt through my measurements off and make the Squared Square more difficult to achieve accurately.

Picture twenty one panels fitted together to make the larger square. Each of these stretcher panels would either be 1″,  1.5″, 2″ or 3″ thick.  I would paint each of the panels either a different grey shade or a different colour. More likely it will be colour based as I’m more interested in colour photography than in black and white. I’d then take photos of each of the panels, so twenty one pictures. Maybe 22 if I take an image of the assembled Square of Squares.

I see it clearly. In a gallery space—perhaps even Bau-Xi Photo if they agree—I would assemble the larger Squared Square on a wall. It would be 112″ x 112″ or roughly 9 feet x 9 feet square. It should be pretty cool. Meanwhile I’ve taken the different twenty two photographs and printed them on the same size square paper, maybe they get printed 24″ x 24″. The goal is to simply frame and hang these side by side around the gallery or on a single wall of the space. Each would like identical except for the actual tone or colour of the image and each would relate back to the larger wall sculpture/panel painting.

This fascination started with the last show Wandering. In that show I shot with the square in my head and cropped down all my images from the typical in camera frame ratio of 2:3 to be square 1:1 ratios. This allowed me to see differently and now I’m really liking the square frame. That’s the impetuous for this project but I’m now thinking more about other aspects of photography or at least other aspects of photography and how it pertains to my practice.

The squares loosely represent pixels to me. I think this is because I’ve been more and more preoccupied with the debate and discussion about digital photography vs analog photography. The colour is another thing I’ve been thinking about and again relates to various conversations I’ve been involved, overheard or read about the nature of photography and the value of colour or black & white printing. There’s also a real nod to my favourite painters Joseph Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, Claude Tousignant and others. Add to that a general attraction for the work of Johannes Itten. Then there’s the aspect of painting, taking pictures of paintings and the blurred lines between the two that I love.  Finally there’s a real sense fo creating something to be photographed here that I think is a natural direction to take based on the work in Wandering. Wandering was found art, Squared will be made art.

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