A quiet desert failure

A quiet desert failure 2015

Algorithmic performance

Guido Segni

Project Link

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The first piece is A quiet desert failure, an online, algorithmic performance by Guido Segni. Begun in 2013, published in 2015, and currently on-going, in this project Segni attempts to map the entire Sahara Desert, piece by piece, into a Tumblr page using data from Google Earth and Maps.  Per Tumblr’s policies regarding number of posts per day, a section is posted every thirty minutes of each day – meaning the project will take 50 years to reach completion.  By repurposing locative satellite data acquired by Google, Segni’s piece digitizes a vast, seemingly infinite physical landscape, commenting on both that physical places’ change – and possible decay – often beautifully so and compositionally-aware.  The pace of the project serves two purposes. One, the slow and steady “fill” of the Tumblr page with the physical sand of the desert echoes the physical nature of the movement of sand as a substance, as well as the time it would take to move across and see the entire desert in physical reality. Secondly, as Segni points out the piece is a commentary on ephemerality, both of physical space, and digital, particularly the Internet. “It is still not clear if the audience, the Google’s servers, the tumblr archive or the Internet itself will last enough to see the end” he says (Louw). Drawing upon the aesthetics of failure – hence, the project’s name – the imminent breakdown of present technologies, and the present landscape of the Internet and specific sites such as Tumblr, in parallel with the physical world, emerges as the main theme of the piece.

Follow the curatorial statement on the next piece here.


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