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Daniela Comani, Planet Earth: 21st Century
360 postcards and photo atlas, installation view: Galleria Milano, December 16, 2019 - January 31, 2020

Planet Earth: 21st Century
artist book by Daniela Comani
with a text by Vera Tollmann (German, Italian, English)
soft cover, 14,8 x 10,5 cm, 768 pages, 360 photos, black and white, 26 EUR
Humboldt Books, Milano, December 2019

Planet Earth: 21st Century stems from visual material sourced from Apple Maps Flyover and from Google Earth Virtual Reality. In 2011, Apple bought this 3D cartographic software for use on mobile devices that was originally developed by the firm C3 Technologies for the arms industry. Starting in 2016, Google Earth VR also translated photographic material into 3D graphic models with a rendering software and GPS. Both Apps allow you to fly over cities and buildings in 3D.

I flew through the cities and made my own pictures: I chose my favorite virtual city view, took screenshots, and turned them into black and white. I selected the countries and cities based on what was available in 3D between 2015 and 2019. The spoils of my virtual trip are 360 postcards with streets, buildings, and monuments from cities around the world  like a quote from Godard s Les Carabiniers: the scene when the two soldiers come back from their world travels with only a suitcase full of postcards.

Through this new technology, cities become a virtual reality; then, with my collected visual material, postcards are printed, referencing the analogue field.

The postcard as mass medium is a consequence of aerial photography. In the beginning of the 20th century, picture postcards with aerial photographs of cities were very popular, with the golden age of the picture postcard dating about a hundred years ago.

The motifs of the postcards and atlas in Planet Earth: 21st Century are the buildings and infrastructures of our cities: new landscapes conceived, created, and often destroyed and reconstructed throughout history by human beings. The urban landscape becomes an integral part of the natural one, thus modifying the nature and history of the planet.

In the work It Was Me. Diary 1900-1999, I wrote a personalized history of 20th Century events as re-enactment. Re-enacting geography in the era called Anthropocene, the focal point of the project Planet Earth is the interaction between human perception of the planet, urban landscapes, and technology of the 21st Century.

copyright © daniela comani and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn