c-print, diasec on dibond, Hubert Blanz, 2008
Today Distance is no More than a Number
Aeroplane, picture plane, plantation, tissue cultures, or a flight simulator (X-Plane) known for its realistic flights. Reading Hubert Blanz’s titles attentively has always helped in the identification of his work. But immersing oneself in the detailed information in X-Plantation can also reveal a lot about his interests and method of work, namely, “cultivating tissues living outside the body in artificial tissue cultures to study their growth and reproduction patterns and to compare these with organic process in living organisms.” The interlacing of content in the terms listed at the beginning of this text finds its correspondence with that of form, in the layering and staggering of the aerial images of airstrips.
Blanz gets his entire material from the Net, from our second world that we can effortlessly click our way through with the meanwhile unbelievably perfect satellite images. Cameras orbiting in space have a complete overview of the earth and capture everything. For the user, geographic distances shrink down to a few inches and numbers, depending on the size of the monitor. The virtual world of photos and geodata thus spread out before us allows us to not only cross the globe within seconds, but also time. After all, what we have before us is a puzzle made up of images of varying ages, often dating back several years.
Hubert Blanz took the screenshots as if with a camera: first selecting frame, distance and angle and then clicking. Once they are cropped, the airports can no longer be located geographically; they turn into graphic routes in varying colour tones with linear patterns and typographies – except in his computer files where the images are saved for the montage, for instance, as “Amsterdam”, or “Denver”.
Finally, we have before us airstrips layered like the stories of a building, as if the intention is to make aviation still more efficient. Is this exaggerated futuristic premonition too absurd?
Translations: Nita Tandon, Vienna