Begun during the creation of Sites, Ontic Glow mines the same geographic locations of the Sites, but from the perspective Google Earth’s 3D ground view. Google’s algorithm ‘sees’ in the same sense like us, generating images, spinning its own models of reality based on a highly subjective understanding of the physical world comprised of reflected light and shadows as well as pre-existing data it received. Based on these models, the algorithm, with its human-made gift of learning and imagination continually revisualizes the world, each new understanding instantaneously translated into graphic images published directly to the internet.
Using Google Earth’s 3D ground view, I ‘wander’ as a digital tourist across landscapes ordinarily inaccessible by the public, taking snapshots in the form of screen captures on my computer. The screen captures were then rendered from color into black and white through Photoshop, printed, and rephotographed as tintypes where the irregularities inherent in physical chemistry and the handmade photograph interact with the accidents found in the digital digestion and projection of space.
Reproduced in the tangible materiality of tintypes, the images raise and blur the distinction between the indexical photographic reproduction of reality and its generation of images, they are models of a model of reality, direct-positive documents of an intangible world that was never really there, and imbued with a naive nostalgia for the future that really, no one has anymore. Despite the fragmentary, dystopian appearance of the landscapes, there is paradoxically something utopian in the failures and glitches, the cracks produced within technology’s perceived, omnivorous, totalizing eye that oversees our day-to-day life are optimistic openings to imagine and visualize spaces that still somehow beyond this ‘other’ realm where images of the world may precede or altogether replace direct experience.