Art, New Media and Earth

We are constantly assailed every day by news and above all by images describing our planet as a big ship going adrift. The last few years have been extremely critical, nearly marking out a point of no return from a catastrophic fate. What is considered a development very often seems an oxymoron, and corresponds to a deterioration of the globe conditions. Discoveries and human evolution do not always take into consideration a basic prerogative: the protection of our environment. Luckily, there are countertendency phenomena of intense sensitiveness we have to look at with great attention in order to re-invent our future. It is not at all a coincidence that we hear more and more frequently about the need to awake our consciences, to know how to appreciate and respect what surrounds us. Its is an essential input that we perceive while observing the works collected in SPACEARTH, the premiere exhibition at LABottega in Marina di Pietrasanta which combines for the first time six of the major artists of satellite photography who share the same passion for the re-interpretation of earthly landscapes through the use of web technologies.
I think that Jenny Odell (U.S.A.), Max Serradifalco (Italy), David Thomas Smith (Ireland), Federico Winter (Argentina), Stephen Lund (Canada), Carloalberto Tereccani (Italy), have given life to a new cultural movement for the Earth whose aim is to develop an unprecedented concept of landscapes, and at the same time to send out a clear warning for the safeguard of our planet, by bringing out environmental beauties, by immortalizing moments of our era, by discovering peculiar conformations that only the satellite medium can highlight.
The relationship between art and technology has already allowed to get to important social and intellectual changes in the past. In the first place, I am thinking of a 1962 project by Nam June Paik, which has never been carried out, in which two musicians were supposed to play a piano composition: one player in San Francisco would use the left hand, while the other on Shanghai would use the right one. As a result, the two sounds should have been heard superimposed thanks to satellite transmission. Fourteen years later, in 1976, Douglas Davis was able to send his Seven Thoughts from Houston stadium to the world for ten memorable minutes. An equally unforgettable moment of contemporary art history, was Hole in Space (1980) by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz: two screens, located at the Lincoln Center in New York and at the Broadway Store in Los Angeles, respectively, were connected via satellite, reproducing images coming from the two U.S.A. coasts in real time, thus creating a great event of interaction among the public.
Today, the group of satellite photographers, joined together by the constant and fundamental commitment of Max Serradifalco, can make use of another equipment of our age, the web, beside the satellite. As a matter of fact, their works are born by using the applications of the giant ‘Google’ which has allowed the explorations of every corner of our planet seen from various perspectives, since 2004. Their visions, although coming from different decoding and aesthetics, create an indissoluble bond of the Earth, art, and new media, which lets us look at a future of awareness and sharing. While watching these images, taken in various parts of the world, we live a sort of telepresence, defined by Lev Manovich, as “the medium not to create a new object, but to approach it, to establish relationships, to observe what happens in a remote place.”
SPACEARTH is a discovery journey of the most precious and sometimes hidden territories of the Earth, which we can finally start again to admire and love, through the works presented by these satellite artist photographers.