Artistically censored Google Earth pix -- the Dutch way

Perhaps only the land of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Mondrian could censor Google Earth with such style.

A far-out building by starchitect Rem Koolhaas? Nope; it's the blotted-out Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, South Holland. Mishka Henner/Google Earth

Leave it to the Dutch and their famous flair for design to come up with a way to put a little panache into the censoring of Google Earth.

As Granta reports, Dutch artist Mishka Henner has discovered the remarkable way in which the government of the Netherlands has censored Google Earth's satellite views to block out certain military, political, and other sensitive sites.

Whereas other countries tend to blur, pixelate, or whitewash such areas, the Dutch cover them with intriguing and colorful geometric abstractions reminiscent of camouflage or of contemporary graphic design. (Addis Creson's street-art-influenced identity for the Compostmodern 2011 design conference comes to mind -- see 00:19 in this video).

Henner has created a book called "Dutch Landscapes" that juxtaposes images of these classy obliterations with Google Earth photos of the similarly arresting interventions the Dutch have made into the landscape itself to keep their country above water (dikes, dunes, drainage networks, and the like).

"Seen from the distant gaze of Earth's orbiting satellites, the result is a landscape unlike any other," Henner writes in his remarks about the book, "one in which polygons recently imposed on the landscape to protect the country from an imagined human menace bear more than a passing resemblance to a physical landscape designed to combat a very real and constant natural threat."

The book makes for an interesting peruse. And as for the censored images (some of which you'll find in the gallery above), we applaud the Dutch for their attention to aesthetics in all matters. Who would've thought we'd be tempted to make a censored Google Earth image our screensaver or desktop background?

 

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