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Drive Into the Ocean with These Maps App Glitches

The new book from Regula Bochsler and Philipp Sarasin explores what our world looks like through the machine lens.
March 25, 2014, 4:00pm

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In her highly-quotable interview with 032c, artist Regula Bochsler comes off as something of a Marco Polo of the Digital Age:

"It became almost like an addiction for me to fly over the 3D worlds, looking for all the unexpected and often overwhelmingly beautiful pictures that result from the glitches," she says of her work searching Apple Maps for particularly beautiful glitches. Empty streets with cartoonish, 3D trees pop up, as do dystopian-looking shanty towns that almost resemble a Dali desert painting. These snapshots of aerial photography are part reality, part fantastical, but consistently captivating.


"I search for these pictures in my work," she told 032c, "similar to how a photographer wanders across a city with his camera, choosing the framing and slightly de-skewing the contortions of the screenshot that are due to the angle of vision that the program forces upon its users."

Her new book with Philipp Sarasin, The Rendering Eye: Urban America Revisited, explores the forgotten American landscape as seen through the calculated (but not infallible) lens of Apple Maps. Below, more images from The Rendering Eye, as well as some choice quotes from the interview:

"My fascination is comparable to the one of Félix Nadar, the French photographer and balloon pioneer, who took the first aerial view in the history of photography," Bochsler says of her work. "But unlike Nadar, who risked life and limb and whose wife was severely injured in a balloon accident, I comfortably sit on my sofa and enjoy the new vision of the world that Apple Maps offers me."

"If we follow the dictum of the late German media theorist Friedrich Kittler," she suggests, "that all media is the 'misuse of military equipment,' it should come as no surprise that Apple Map’s renderings are closely related to military technologies. At the same time, the sight of our world from the air has been a fascination for us since they built the first balloon." Below, more of Bochsler's stunning work:

Check out the full text interview on 032c, and more of Bochsler's fascinating work on her website.

Order your copy of The Rendering Eye: Urban America Revisited by Regula Bochsler & Philipp Sarasin, from Edition Patrick Frey, by clicking here.