In Reconnaissance, artist and writer Ingrid Burrington exposes the tension between the awe inspired by digitally captured aerial landscapes and “the imaginary objective truth of the God’s-eye view” (after Donna Haraway). The series of large-scale lenticular prints of data centers, military sites, and downlinks, suggests that while the scale and detail of satellite imagery is fascinating, no view is total or definitive.
Each print shows a single, politically relevant, location captured at two different points in time. As the viewer shifts from one side to the other, the composite nature of the image is revealed, and with this, ideas about how the maps we consult on our screens are manipulated and always changing.
The bird’s eye perspectives of Reconnaissance tap into histories of aerial views, from the panoramic inventions of the nineteenth century to Landsat imagery and Google Maps. As Burrington writes in her research notes: “The view from nowhere doesn’t emerge from nowhere... it’s the result of decades of aerospace and electrical engineering research and development.” What emerges is a doubling of the aesthetics of machine vision and the grounded infrastructures – where satellites are launched or data is stored and circulated – that enable it.
Ingrid Burrington’s practice focuses on mapping, documenting, and identifying elements of network infrastructure, drawing attention to the often overlooked or occluded landscapes of the internet. She has been artist in residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Eyebeam, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, and a fellow at Data & Society. She writes for San Francisco Art Quarterly, Creative Time Reports, The Nation and The Atlantic. She is a member of Deep Lab, a collective of researchers, artists, writers and engineers that explores themes of control, power, technology and society.