I collected several tourist books and old postcards from a flea market in downtown Santiago. Most of them portray the touristic highlight of each city, such as Playa cavancha, downtown Iquique, the cathedral of Puerto Varas and the view from the city of the Osorno Volcano. So, for this following experiment, I used this collection of postcards aiming to interrogate the online image data available related to the notion of landscape in Chile. For this particular experiment, I searched for those images available through the Google images search engine. With this in mind, I searched using the description phrases retrieved from the found postcards, as keywords – phrases such as; Playa Cavancha, Plaza de Iquique, Catedral de Puerto Varas and Vista del Volcán Osorno, amongst others. Each one of these key phrases was taken from found postcards. From the more than twenty images collected, I choose a few that had a clear location inscription on them. The keywords allowed me to access a set of collections given by the Google algorithm (that is also in part determined by my own search history). From this collection, I chose those images most reproduced by postcards and travel advertising. The final images were manipulated through a set of procedures that allowed me to repeat horizontally through the entire image, the pixels of one vertical line or column. The aim was to re-create the ubiquitous tourist image of both cities with an abstract representation that could potentially question the absent image. In this way, the most common images of Iquique and Puerto Varas disappeared through a coloured line, and a new abstract image emerged. The final images obtained by the set of digital actions were combined with one line containing the keywords used to find it. Images and text create relationships where the absence of the photographic reproduction of the place is replaced by an abstraction that questions the use and reproduction of landscape images in both studied sites.
Going back to the process of making the images and capturing the data, one of the aims of the practice is to foreground the relationship between inputs (data captured), the translation into digital data and the question of how to appropriate this data.
The aim of this experiment was to recreate the image of the landscape, erasing and re-inscribing with partial information about what a landscape image can be. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the criteria to describe something such as a landscape, has two meanings. One, as ‘all the visible features of an area of land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal’, but also as ‘denoting a format of printed matter which is wider than it is high: ‘landscape format’’ (Oxford Dictionary, 2017). The relevance, after observing the output, is to see how, by abstracting the image into just lines of colour, a new landscape emerges just by the composition and the horizontal lines, creating a new reconfigured view of the touristic clichés of both places.
Flusser’s photographic program has been key to understanding photographic practice and its influences. This experiment looks at the available resources to try to work with the possibility of writing new programmes that re-create an already seen image of landscape in both places. Looking at the apparatus and its agency I reflect on the use of metadata as a relevant actor in the creation of narratives and works of art. By describing the rationale and references of each experiment, but also what they have in common, I attempt to give a sense of how they have been part of a process that has been evolving along with the theoretical findings. The set of images created, aims to find an alternative image that, by looking at them, I could interrogate how landscape has been perceived in Chile. A decolonial aesthetic which, by reconfiguring a view of the landscape, aims to question those other views that reinforce the perception of the landscape as an empty place ready for exploitation.