Zoom Blue Dot (1990-2017)

Artists: Bull.Miletic / Venue: Trondheim Centre for Contemporary Arts / March 22 – April 15 / Curator: Randi Martine Brockmann

The complex contradictions of displacement and overview generated by the view from above thus enters a new paradigm of modular groundlessness as it combines with technologies on the ground and networked geospatial data in new diagrams of power.

The recent surge of aerial imaging technologies such as satellites and drones has prompted scholarly discussions on what has come to emerge as a new visual paradigm. Today, the aerial view is in motion, not only through the physical attachment of cameras to mobile machines but most prominently in the way these technological mediations are distributed and networked between billions of portable electronic devices, merging news feeds and entertainment with intelligence operations. The complex contradictions of displacement and overview generated by the view from above thus enters a new paradigm of modular groundlessness as it combines with technologies on the ground and networked geospatial data in new diagrams of power. Approaching this subject from the perspective of cinema and contemporary art, our project brings into question the entangled histories of the moving image and spatial expressions, while addressing the imaginative and emotional capacities increasingly colonized by remote sensing and aerial imaging technologies.

Zoom Blue Dot points to the sphere of the globe as a scalable interface. In this project we discuss the cinematification of spatial data through dynamic visualization models, exemplified by the 3D flyover feature. In 1990, before permanently turning off its cameras, Voyager 1 turned towards Earth to snap one last picture. Shot from a distance of 4 billion miles, Earth appears as a pale blue dot suspended in a sunbeam. Addressing the concept of scale as an epistemic shift in our awareness brought on by the anthropocene, Voyager’s Pale Blue Dot (1990), is here in dialog with artistic projects such as Spiral Jetty (1970) by Robert Smithson and Powers of Ten (1977) by Ray and Charles Eames. As opposed to Eameses’ camera that travels through the planetary constellation back to Earth’s surface and into the molecular structure of a human body, our camera zooms into the Pale Blue Dot displayed on a smartphone screen and penetrates into the fabric of the electronic image’s material support—in this case the multilayered assemblage that constitutes the Liquid Crystal Display.

Zoom Blue Dot was generously supported by Arts Council Norway, Arts Research Center and Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, & Society at University of California, Berkeley. The project was realized during a semester-long Arts + Science in Residence Program at University of California, Berkeley in collaboration with Holly L. Aaron at the Molecular Imaging Center, Danielle Jorgens at the Electron Microscopy Lab, Vasfi Burak Ozdol at the Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Christopher Myers at CITRIS Invention Lab. Zoom Blue Dot is a part of Aerial View in Motion, a four-year artistic research project funded by Media Aesthetics, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo and Norwegian University of Science and Technology and administered by the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme.

Bull.Miletic are visual artists Synne T. Bull (b. 1973, Norway) and Dragan Miletic (b. 1970, Yugoslavia) who have been working together since 2000. Bull.Miletic have shown internationally at venues including Venice Biennale, WRO Media Art Biennale, California Biennial, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Victorian Arts Center, Melbourne, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Henie Onstad Art Center, Høvikodden, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade. They were inaugural researchers in the Art + Science in Residence Program at University of California, Berkeley, co-hosted by Centre for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society and the Arts Research Center. Currently Bull.Miletic are working on a joint art research project titled Aerial View in Motion.