I think part of my fascination with Google is the way it is reprocessing the way we see the world. It has its own way of looking, and that, it turns out, is what we see.

Timo Arnall's Robot Readable World goes wide and deep, documenting the "robot eye aesthetic" through an awesome collection of "found machine-vision footage."

Robot Readable World, (5'09") by Timo Arnall [vimeo via city of sound]

I haven't yet decided whether to more proactively engage the growing numbers of people who use Google as medium or subject for their artmaking, or to forge ahead alone, buoyed up by the certainty of my own unequaled, Googly aesthetic and conceptual brilliance.

detail of Reconciliation (after @gregorg after thompson after allen [maybe])...
CanvasPeople® probably non-archival inkjet print on canvas
11" x 14"
Signed Edition of 1 (+ infinite unsigned APs), POR

But then Man Bartlett comes up with a sharp, funny project that turns out to relate directly to my lingering anxiety over what I think of, what I make, what I try to get out there, and how well [or not] I do it.

Thumbnail image for blurmoiselles_moma_goog.jpg
study for Untitled (After Google Art Project, les Demoiselled d'Avignon), 2011

So last year--a year ago today, in fact--my immediate reaction to the launch of the Google Art Project was to zoom in on the blurred out paintings that MoMA hadn't gotten copyright clearance for--including les Demoiselles d'Avignon and several other iconic Picassos--and to suggest they must now be painted as Google had--there's no other word--overpainted them.

And then last month, I see that an artist named Phil Thompson had sent screengrabs of the blurred paintings to one of those Chinese painting factories, and has now unveiled the work as his Copyrights project. Which is fine, if not at all how it should be done I'd do it.

But which nonetheless made me tweet about the twinges of annoyance caused by my no-doubt outmoded sense of authorship and originality:


Which prompted Man to take a screenshot of my blog post, pixel-blur everything but the blurred Google Art Project image, and order a print-on-canvas of it. AND a Chinese painting mill cover version. All of which are for sale, and which are hilarious. Though I will let him reveal the Chinese copy in his own good time. It really is awesome.

Reconciliation (after @gregorg after thompson after...) []
Previously, painfully related, feb 2011: les Blurmoiselles d'Avignon
nov 2010, because it really does come back to Richter, it seems: Blurmany and the pixelated sublime

Another Sunday painting. Or another Sunday spent painting.


I did another round of taping off and painting on the Dutch Camo Landscape photo of Noordwijk today. The first time, I did two identical gray polygons This time, I did three, with different greys.

The taping is the most time-consuming aspect of the process, the mixing the most uncertain, and the painting itself the most anti-climactic.

Not really knowing anything about color systems or theory, I'm just eyeballing each match. At the moment, there's something going on, I think, with the way the polys get grouped; I mix one grey, then change it for the next, and then the next. They end up being sequential in a way, related to each other, composed of the same constituent pigments. Until they're not; the last poly was turning out to be not just lighter, but pinker, redder, and so I gambled and added a new paint, a single drop of red oxide, which blew the whole thing. It eventually came around, though.

Though I'm clearly counting on it somehow, I don't know what'll happen when I try to paint next to an already-painted polygon. I mean, on the one hand, I don't know how paint will handle the tape. On the other, there's a ridge there now. So I could just paint up to it. But that'd mean some edges will be taped and crisp, and others will be brushed.

At this point, I guess I'm still seeing if paint actually does what I think it'll do when I do it.

In unrelated news, that brown poly in the center of the photo looks kind of like Iraq.


While moving some art around this week, I found a bag of acrylics I bought early last year, when I planned to paint the Dutch camo landscapes. Trying to figure out how to do it led me to start looking more closely at the painting techniques of a whole range of works--from Dutch Golden Age landscapes to Picabia to Hard Edge to Douglas freakin Coupland--and to various paint/photograph combos.

I wanted to match the ploygonal camo colors right, so I'd looked at various digital-to-analogue conversion strategies, to extracting the Pantone colors from each polygon, then sending an autogenerated list off to some paint company, who'd produce each one for me. I was going to have the colors matched by someone. I studied the various color theories, from Goethe forward. My master painter brother-in-law would tell me about the different companies' different pigments mixing and drying differently. I took notice just last month of how Richter knows and manipulates the drying rates of the various layers of the various paints he squeegees.

I basically ended up trying to get the painting perfect in my head. First.


Anyway, with the collection of paints I'd bought fresh in my head, after I put away the Rijksoverheid paintings, I just decided to paint one of those camo things. So I got one of the smaller prints, of the crazy camo ball over Noordwijk--yep, it's still there-- taped off the two polygons that were an identical gray, and I mixed the paint in a little tray. By looking at it, and seeing when it was done. And it matched. And so I painted those two polygons in a few minutes. And that was it.


At the second I was done, I realized I coulda/shoulda taped off some more polys and kept going, some of the other gray-family ones. I can see how the project could proceed like that, working the paints in succession to match a little family of colors. And wow, acrylic dries so fast, I could just keep right on going. Though I still have to see whether I can tape over painted photograph, or if it requires something else. Whatever, the point is, it works, and I did it, and seriously, what the hell was taking me so long to get started?

Whether it turns out to be interesting or good, of course, is another question. Which now I know I'll be able to find out.

Previously, 09/2009: Houses of Orange

December 8, 2011

The New Aesthetic On Stage

Here's video of James Bridle giving a live, keynote speech version of his awesome tumblr, The New Aesthetic, at a web conference in Australia. Lots of good stuff, though not much that will be new to TNA followers.

There are a few favorites in there, too, including lots of camo, Dutch Google camo, Blurmany, that crazy Google Books book, Google Google Google camo camo camo.

Waving At Machines, at Web Directions South, Sydney AU []

I confess, I haven't checked out Utah's Dugway Proving Grounds since the Terraserver era. But I just checked them out again

This crazy, Toyo Ito-ish tangle of 20m-wide white lines in the desert of Gangsu province have been stumping folks on Googlesightseeing for 2+ years. [Scrolling down, they found Google Earth images of the feature under construction in the spring of 2005.]


This is my favorite, though, an 18-mile-long grid [!] in Xinjiang. The speculation is that it's a calibration grid for Chinese spy satellites. I like to think of it as the world's biggest Agnes Martin painting.

Gizmodo's been adding more Chinese Google Earth oddities to their original post. I'd still put Dugway into the top 3, or at least the top 5.

[thanks ryan, patrick, dt, and a couple of other people who also consider me their go-to guy for oddball Google earth art links.]

Not sure what's cooler about JWZ's post about visiting the repurposed Christian Science church that is now The Internet Archive's San Franscisco Mothership:

their slick and simple book digitizing station setup, or the "terracotta army of avatars of their long-term employees" which are gradually filling the pews.

The Internet Archive []

November 1, 2011

Sarah Sze Street View

Just this morning, while I was watching Sarah Sze's 2010 lecture at the Smtihsonian American Art Museum, and she was showing videos of her installations for the first time [borrowed, with permission, she said, from various YouTube users, which is nice]. And I found myself thinking, "Hah, try running the Google Street View Trike through that!"

But of course, Google already did.


Street View just announced the release of imagery from The High Line, which was apparently captured by the Trike this spring, just before the second, Northern section opened.


And whaddyaknow, there's Sarah Sze and her crew, installing her bird city, Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat). That's Sze and her updo on the left. On the LEFT. Focus, people, focus.

And I do believe that is dearly departed High Line curator Lauren Ross with the lanyard, checking in on things. [Happily, Ross isn't dead; she just moved to Tulsa.]

These photos are actually in reverse order; the Trike was driving south. I haven't spotted any traces of a Google Guide yet. But I do notice that with this early morning shoot, the Street View pano stitching algorithm erases the Trike's shadow. Leave no trace.

October 15, 2011

Doug Rickard At Pier 24

October 12, 2011

Orvieto Street View


Just because it wasn't mapped out by the Google Trike crew doesn't mean there aren't some nice Street View self-portraits in the fortress-like Italian hill city of Orvieto, the Papal Aspen of its day. [thx brian dupont]

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 14 Next

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Category: google

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99