Aram Bartholl : Google Maps

Our daily lives naturally become accustomed to certain inventions and technology, and perhaps no more so than innovations that have launched from Silicon Valley, USA. Google Maps, as you will no doubt be aware of and perhaps regularly use, place markers around an online map interface depending on your intended search criteria, and one such artist has a unique and creative take on our dependency on the service for directions.

Aram Bartholl is German artist currently residing in Berlin and his works are often an interplay between the world wide web, popular culture and reality. Bartholl's art installation 'Map' has truly got us talking around the SATORI & SCOUT workroom, whereby this installation has us moving in all directions. As Google advertises, "Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps", and what a creative way to question our daily lives' commuting than to actually mark such local places in the real-life dimension, rather than the technological fourth dimension.

The installation of 'Map' involves the careful placement and erection of a real life version of the famous red needle pin of Google in particular places around the world. The installation includes the conversion of Google's small 20 pixel wide graphic icon into a standalone structure, whereby the actual shadow that it casts in the public space replicates the pixel's graphic on your computer's (or smart phone's) Google Maps display. What's equally as neat is the fact that the size of the red marker within the real physical space is the exact same respective size of a marker as when you are zoomed into Google Maps the maximal amount. This neat detail allows us to easily relate to the installation's presence, and when viewed from the air (should you be lucky enough to visit a local tall building) the whole installation is even more real - it looks as literal as if it were viewed on your screen.

The installation questions the relationship between digital information and our daily lives, and the perception of any city (particularly when a tourist) is often highly influenced by geolocation services, or pre-planned tour routes. Gone are the days that if you wanted to know the route to a particular location of a city that you actually ask a tour guide, instead you instantly hear a notification from Google within its mapping interface. This art installation, ultimately, questions our perception of urban environments and architecture, as much as our dependency on certain technologies.

Would you want an Aram Bartholl installation in your city, and if so, what would you marker pin?

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