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Geolocation series continues

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 12:10pm

Art and social media continue their convergence in Dodd photography professor Marni Shindelman's ongoing series, Geolocation:

Every few weeks, I get an email reminder: “A lot has happened on Facebook since you last logged on.” I’m always disarmed by this phrase, which feels closer to “So much has changed in the neighborhood since you moved away” than “There have been many interesting articles in The New Yorker since your subscription lapsed.” But it makes sense, of course. Facebook is so effortlessly immersive that we can think of it as being somewhere, rather than reading something. That’s a disconcerting thought, given that we are humans whose consciousness depends on our experience of real space and time. Can we remain connected to our material selves, even as we spend more of our lives in virtual space?

For the ongoing series Geolocation, Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman use geodata to find and photograph the precise location where Twitter users post their tweets. Most recently, they have documented sites in Fargo, North Dakota. Sometimes the connection to place is obvious, as in the photo of a giant buffalo statue introduced as “My spirit animal.” Other images make sense in cultural context, like the tweet inveighing against gun regulation posted from a church parking lot. But often there is a more oblique connection between site and status update, which leaves the viewer to fill in the story. Whose heart was broken beside the high school bleachers? Is it dangerous to think deeply about adulthood in the grass beside the railroad tracks? The series reminds us that our lives are grounded in mundane landscapes, even as we stare at screens that seem like portals to other dimensions.

Nice coverage of this collaborative work in Places Journal. The photo area in the Dodd is in the midst of a dynamic mini-epic with great work by creative faculty like Shindelman and the cohort of terrifically talented graduate students who have come to UGA to study with them. Stop by River Road when you get the chance and see what their up to. Between and among the many formal exhibitions in the galleries, the hallways are always teeming with student work. Check it out.

Image: Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman, 80 Billion Stars, from the series Geolocation.

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