The theme for this week, if there is to be a theme, is going to be vision—the ways we see these days; the imagery and data we see through; and the glimpses we catch of ourselves.
There really isn't a better place to start than Patricio Gonzalez Vivo's recent and gorgeous project, Skylines. Made during his final year in the Parsons Design and Technology MFA program, it is an evocative and beautiful piece that begins from the realization that within each Google Street view image is depth information. This discovery of such a rich dataset allowed Patricio to recreate entire streets—a haunting ghost of our cities hiding in the maps we look at every day.
This isn't the first time imagery like this has been ripped out and transformed. Ryan Alexander's excellent Streetview Stereographic allowed us to travel the world through the distorted lens of the stereographic projection, Clement Valla's 3D Maps Minus 3D flattened out dimensional imagery back into flat maps, and last year Stamen Design launched several remixes and reformations of Nokia's own 3D information in WebGL. All these projects treat immense datasets of imagery as a design material, and create beautiful and fascinating views onto our own maps.
But it is in the slow walk down one of the ghost worlds in Patricio's Skylines that the quiet rhythm of black holes appear in the center of the street. These are blind spots. The Street view cars are unable to look directly down, but taken in this world they seem more like manhole covers—markers and symbols of the vast infrastructure supporting the world above.