Google Maps art magnifies our impact on Earth

Artist David Thomas Smith uses heavily manipulated satellite images of major cities as a vehicle for revealing humanity's excesses.

Christopher MacManus
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Christopher MacManus
Larger than life. David Thomas Smith

Earth -- unlike perhaps any other planet out there -- provides a mostly hospitable home for humankind. Yet we seem to have opted for unsustainable growth instead of preservation.

At least that's the message in photographer David Thomas Smith's "Anthropocene" exhibition, which Smith describes as a visual examination of global landscapes transformed by the actions and activities of humanity. Each of the 12 prints in the collection derives from thousands of screenshots, which Smith captured from Google Maps and metamorphosed in Photoshop.

"This work draws upon the patterns and motifs used by Persian rug makers, especially the way Afghani weavers use the rug to record their experiences more literally with vivid images of the war torn land that surrounds them," Smith says.

"This collision between the old and the new, fact and fiction, surveillance and invisibility, is part of a strategy to reflect on the global order of things."

"Anthropocene" can be seen at the Copper House Gallery in Dublin, Ireland, through April 16.

Artist turns Google Maps into powerful Persian rug (pictures)

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