13.07.2023 – 02.09.2023
Karin Sander's Ideoscapes at i8 Gallery features maquettes of 12 Icelandic mountain landscapes retrieved and printed directly from Google Earth 3D geospatial data. Approaching the digital data as found objects, the artist's minimal intervention consists of selecting the data at scales just big enough to contain each mountain and its surrounding context, given the maximum width of the printer's output.
Ideoscapes captures each mountain as a memory of sorts, its data's conflated past moments of Google Earth's scanning, imaging, and compositing retrieved by Karin Sander at a specific date and time. In installation, removed from a sense of shared history, geography, and scale, the landscapes suggest their own intangible, resonant qualities. The works, printed with the latest technology, are immaculate and precise, but precision is a relative term. Here it defines a faithfulness to the data rather than the landscapes themselves. The works are not models but rather 3D landscape paintings, or perhaps more accurately, 3D landscape photographs since they are in essence printed images. They are, in fact, 3D renderings of 2D renderings of 3D geologic features, and in this translation the precision lies as much in their finished forms as the artist's ability to divine poetic potentials across the disconnects and ambiguities in and between the processes of their making
Notes on false precision
by Lani Yamamoto
Mapping landscapes is an imprecise art. On paper, the difficulty is two-fold: 1) Its surface is 2D. 2) The world is 3D. A lot can be lost in translation. Of mountains, for example. Where does one begin and end, exactly? Lines are exact. They draw one object at one location. They make mountains into objects. Objects either there or not.
3D mapping is more precise, but the problem is still there. And, worse. The surface binaries are rooted in the very logic of its code. It paints the world by numbers, but only 1s and 0s. Trues and Falses - connected by ands (∧), ors (∨), and nots (¬). It's always possible to add more numbers between 0 and 1, fuzzying the logic to account for things not one or another but a bit of both (or more), but these are different values. Not degrees of truth but correspondence. How much one location matches one concept of one object. Like a mountain. Or a stream.
Is this too precise or not precise enough? Is this too precise and not precise enough? It depends on how we define our terms:
Landscape - a. A tract of land with its distinguishing characteristics and features. b. A view or prospect of natural inland scenery such as can be taken in at a glance from one point of view.
False precision - When exact terms are used for things that can't be expressed in exact terms.
Maps are a clear case of false precision. But so are landscapes - both themselves and a view of themselves at the same time. Maybe maps are precise enough. And haven't we always suspected? Rushing to explore the places they can't show us?