School of Art, Media, and Technology

Eyes in the Sky: The History of the Aerial Perspective

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Thursday, March 6
Theresa  Lang Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd fl.
6:30 PM

The Photography Program at Parsons, in collaboration with the Aperture Foundation and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics is pleased to announce that Paula Amad, Raphaël Dallaporta and Laura Kurgan will come together to discuss the past and present of aerial photography. Approaching the issue from the perspective of historian, practitioner and contemporary observer respectively, Amad, Dallaporta and Kurgan will reflect on the poetics and problematics of the aerial image.

Amad’s writing explores the aesthetic and philosophical structures and understandings that have accompanied the eye-in-the sky since the early experiments with airplane photography, which is, as she puts it, “dialectically situated between the poles of science and art, rationality and imagination.” She will present rare aerial photographs and films from the first two decades of the 20th Century. Dallaporta is a contemporary producer of aerial images. His work explores our habitats and activities from the sky; for his project “Ruins,” he flew a multicopter drone over Afghan archeological sites that hadn’t previously been documented from the air. His work with drones is both a photographic experiment and a commentary on the relationship between technology, style, information and power. Laura Kurgan’s book “Close Up at a Distance” explores how satellite representations of our landscapes are increasingly informing our understanding of the spaces we inhabit. She argues that the aerial data that mediate our relationship with our environment are “infinitely scalable, absolutely contingent, open to vision and hence revision.” Set against a wealth of aerial images, the event will challenge the audience to consider how the the aerialperspective has become entwined with surveillant power and, by extension, violence and fear, even though it also enables new, sympathetic ways of seeing and understanding.

 

Laura Kurgan’s book “Close Up at a Distance”

Laura Kurgan’s book “Close Up at a Distance”

 

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