Peter, the ‘Picturesque’ and Google Earth

Peter came round and reintroduced me to Google Earth.  A popular favourite of artists examining the landscape and the contemporary disconnect between the experience on the ground and the experience  displayed on the screen – using the now ubiquitous topography of the plane, drone, satellite, exploiting the gaps and discontinuities revealed.screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-17-47-45

As we sailed down the Tyne Valley on the lap top screen, Peter steered the magic carpet viewer, finding the spots that Carmichael drew.  Peter then flipped the settings to plus 3, on ‘exaggerated elevation’, suddenly the landscape took on a rugged drama, the Tyne valley became a gorge.  There was a sense that this was a kind of ‘picturesque’ button, transforming landscape to a highland ideal?

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We focussed on St Antony’s – a part of the Walker Riverside park and I mapped Carmichael’s etching onto the saved image – not exact, quite a bit of pulling and stretching required on Photoshop, but an interesting fit and a sense that Google earth has a ‘Picturesque’ aesthetic within its algorythms.

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I like the way, the girl in the bonnet points to a post industrial future, in the apparently collapsed factory roofs of the South bank of the Tyne, distorted by the joint efforts of the Google earth ‘exaggeration’ and the transform tool of Photoshop. Ghostly barges ply the Tyne and the spires of the city are seen in the distance.

St Anthony’s deserves a site visit I think.

 

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