Parallax Maps: Joe Hamilton's indirect.flights

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Joe Hamilton, Indirect Flights (2015). Screenshot, detail.

Indirect Flights (2015), an online work by Joe Hamilton with sound by J.G. Biberkopf and support from The Moving Museum, blends satellite images, organic textures, brush strokes, and architectural fragments into a dense panorama accessible via a Google Maps-like interface at the website www.indirect.flights. Rhizome's summer fellow Heloïse Cullen talked Hamilton about the project via email.

Navigating through indirect.flights I had a feeling of walking on the streets, smartphone on hands. I also felt a distance from actually being surrounded by natural landscapes (which for me is rather sad). The layers that show nature seem distant from a human—immersed—point of view, satellite images, mostly layered in the far bottom layer, watched while I navigated listening to urban sounds.

I can see how you felt a distance to the elements of nature in the work. The piece is rather dystopian when looked at in a certain light. Many elements are forced in the frame, overlapping and fighting for their own presence. A lot of the visual material is weathered and messy although still very high resolution and crisp. I didn't set about creating a piece about dystopia but It seems appropriate that some viewers could read it as such.

I sent the indirect.flights link the other day via SMS to a friend who was asking "what's net art?" and I was surprised to notice it works really well on mobile. A lot of net art doesn't work that well on mobile—was this a specific decision on your part?

It was super important for me that the work function well on mobile. To start with I think it's meaningful for some viewers to experience the work in transit on a touch screen. The work is navigated in a way similar to online maps and mobile has become the default way of using a map now. Secondly, people are increasingly accessing the internet through mobile devices so it's just good practice for anything put online to be optimised for mobile.

You’ve said that interfaces are "pivotal in shaping communities online." How do map interfaces, which you reference with indirect.flights, shape communities, especially since they’re so often used as we travel through what used to be thought of as "offline" space?

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Hyper Geography (2011) - Joe Hamilton

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Hyper Geography (2011) from Joe Hamilton on Vimeo.

Hyper Geography is currently on view at 319 Scholes until November 20th.

Hamilton donated Hyper Geography Print Set for Rhizome's Community Campaign. Check out Hamilton and the other great artists who donated limited edition artworks available only during the Campaign, which ends January 14th.

For more on Hamilton's work see:

Reframing Tumblr: Hyper Geography

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Community Campaign 2012 Limited Edition Artworks

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A New Age Demanded (Kline #2), Jon Rafman

Rhizome's Community Campaign is currently underway! Today, we're offering eight excellent reasons to make a contribution this year - the fantastic artworks generously donated by artists Anamanaguchi, Extreme Animals, DIS, Paul Chan, Ofri Cnaani, Kärt Ojavee & Eszter Ozvald, Joe Hamilton, and Jon Rafman.

Make a donation today at the following levels and you may choose to receive the following works:

Anamanaguchi and Extreme Animals, images courtesy of the artists

For donations of $25, we offer limited edition ringtones from the bands Anamanaguchi and Extreme Animals. Load these ringtones on your phone to ring with noise and chiptune style!

Contemporary Internet Lifestyles (2011), DIS

Contributions of $50 will receive this large photographic print titled Contemporary Internet Lifestyles by DIS. Featuring performer Paris Gotti, this photograph is a perfect piece to expand your growing collection.

 

Sade for Sade's Sake (2010), Paul Chan

A donation of $100 receive Sade for Sade's Sake (2010), a data CD containing 21 type fonts and a collection of digital artwork by Paul Chan. Each data CD is signed and editioned; it's fantastic gift for any collector, artist, or designer.

 

Slideshow #15 (no title, 1988) (2011), Ofri Cnaani

Donations of $500 include a lush digital print entitled Slideshow #15 (no title, 1988) by time-based media artist Ofri Cnaani. This print was donated by the artist specifically for Rhizome's Community Campaign.

 

SymbiosisC (2011), Kärt Ojavee and Eszter Ozsvald

A $750 donation will receive SymbiosisC, a heat responsive soft sculpture by Kärt Ojavee and Eszter Ozsvald. SymbiosisC is a unique decorative object that changes color with your body's warmth. Its cushion-like size will fit perfectly in any home or apartment.

 

Hyper Geography Print Set (2011), Joe Hamilton

For a $1,000 contribution, you can receive a ...

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Reframing Tumblr: Hyper Geography

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Hyper Geography is a Tumblr created by Joe Hamilton. He describes the blog on the site in a quote: “What in the history of thought may be seen as a confusion or an overlapping is often the precise moment of the dramatic impulse.” — Raymond Williams, "Ideas of Nature," in Problems in Materialism and Culture. (London: Verso, 1980). I caught up with Joe over email to find out more about Hyper Geography and the ideas behind its collagist layout.

Jason Huff: When did you start the project and how did you develop the basic criteria for what you post?
Joe Hamilton: I started in April of this year and, in a way, finished in August. There are 100 looping posts that link together horizontally and vertically. I am working on a script that will once a day take the last post in the loop and reblog it. Then I will leave it. Or not. I'm not sure.
In selecting the images I was looking at our notion of environment and the changing and overlapping definitions of natural, built and networked environments. I gathered images that speak of these definitions and blended them together in to new compositions. An attempt to create a feeling of some type of hybrid environment, a hyper geography.

In addition to the idea of overlapping, the quote on the info page from Raymond Williams's Ideas of Nature mentions the "dramatic impulse" - How does that relate to the project?
Well it is funny but until I read your question I had not made the connection to the word 'overlapping' in the quote and the fact that I was overlapping images in my project. I was referring to overlapping ideas of nature... 

 

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