I like to explore cities I’ve never been to virtually. I go to Google Street View and walk the streets of places on the other side of the globe. I fly through the 3D projections of cities on Google Earth. I visit Yelp and look at the menus of faraway restaurants and imagine what I’d order if I could ever visit. I love doing this, but I also realize that when I visit cities virtually my vision of them is mediated by the gaze of Big Tech companies with their own agendas, ideas, and limitations. The city is only rendered as accurately as their satellites can see.
For this project I began exploring the Google Maps 3D projection of Albuquerque, New Mexico -- the city I call home. The 3D geometry of downtown Albuquerque produced from these satellite images is bizarre and distorted. Buildings bend and collapse at strange angles. Notable landmarks become tangled masses of overlapping triangles. These bizarre 3D models got me thinking about remote viewing, the practice of psychically seeing or sensing a distant place or person. During a remote viewing session images and perceptions frequently come through in distorted fragments.
Thinking about remote viewing, I took these strange, broken geometries of Albuquerque and transformed them into dreamlike structures -- a vision of downtown remotely viewed from my computer. Through this exercise Albuquerque Remote Viewing became a reflection on how the ever watching eyes of big tech companies view us and how their gaze can distort our reality. My hope with this map is to inspire others to transform this gaze into new constructions that we feel ownership over.
The page for each structure provides the GPS coordinates for the building used in its creation and an embedded google map with the 3D data that I used to build that structure.
Albuquerque Remote Viewing was created in 2021 for the city of Albuquerque and Compass Roses, a project created by Nadine Wasserman and Renee Piechocki.