Landscape Prediction: An Earthology of Moving Landforms
Recent space imaging developments have given rise to a spread of commercial services based on the temporal dimensions of satellite imagery. Marketed under umbrella terms such as environmental intelligence, real-time Earth observation or orbital insight, these imaging projects deliver the surface of the planet as an image flow encoded into video streams, where change and variation become a commodified resource on the one hand, as well as a visual spectacle on the other. Postprocessed by computer vision and machine learning algorithms, these services extend the geospatial logic of GIS systems to the surface of the image. Paths become trackable, objects classificable and movements predictable. Seen from the satellite networks, the surfaces of the planet are imaged as visual feeders for data-extractive algorithms. As aerial images become data, then, the Earth is operationalised as a legible screen, where the predicted predates the perceived. This workshop proposes to examine the use of video prediction techniques based on machine learning within this imaging context of the transformations of landscape. It seeks to explore the cinematic character of some of the active landforms of the planet, such as river thalwegs, drifting glaciers or crawling dunes. This way, the workshop will present the capacity to generate video-predicted landscapes as a platform to speculate with this particular entanglement between visual media and the surfaces of the planet, beyond the extractive and finantial contexts that have given rise to it. The workshop is part of an ongoing research on the image character and temporality of the planetary surfaces developed together with Jussi Parikka and the Archaeologies of Media and Technology group.
Link to the workshop at Transmediale 2017: https://transmediale.de/content/surface-value-landscape-prediction-an-amt-workshop-day-2 Link to the workshop at Linz AMRO 2018: Art Meet Radical Openness AMRO 18</p>