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Photo Gallery: Jenny Odell’s Neatly Organized ‘Satellite Collections’

Bay Area-artist Jenny Odell isn’t your typical collector. As opposed to combing through record store bins or scouring flea markets for her rare finds, she seeks them out on Google Satellite View — endlessly scrolling in search of images of things like parking lots, landfills, and baseball diamonds, which she cuts and pastes to create what are essentially collections of collections. “The view from a satellite is not a human one, nor is it one we were ever really meant to see,” she explains. “But it is precisely from this inhuman point of view that we are able to read our own humanity, in all of its tiny, reliably repetitive marks upon the face of the earth. From this view, the lines that make up basketball courts and the scattered blue rectangles of swimming pools become like hieroglyphs that read: people were here.”

“In recording the moment at which things as bizarre as water parks and racetracks covered the earth, the photograph also implies that moment’s own passing, encoding each tiny structure with vulnerability and pre-emptive nostagia,” Odell continues. “My desire to collect these pieces stems not only from the fascination of any collector but from a wish to save these low-resolution, sporadically-updated pixels — these strange pictures of ourselves — from time and the ephemerality of the Internet.”

Click through for a slide show of digital prints from her Satellite Collections series, many of which are available as affordable prints on 20×200.


Jenny Odell, 97 Nuclear Cooling Towers. [Spotted via Booooooom]

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