Kurgan, Laura

Permanent URI for this collection

Digital access to this material is pending artist's approval. Materials may be viewed onsite at the Goldsen Archive, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library, Cornell University.

During the 1990s, I followed very closely the becoming-public, whether through commercialization or declassification, of what I have come to call the military technologies of location -- notably the Global Positioning System satellite network, digital cartography, and highresolution satellite imagery. I was interested in their politics and their aesthetics, and what these might have to do with each other. I wanted to develop a critical relation to these very-hightechnologies, not from outside them, but from within. Over a number of projects I have sought to work with the infrastructures and images of surveillance and war in order to explore what these digital networks are doing to our experience of time and space, and to exploit their contents in the interest of art and memory. This refunctioning tries to discover within the aesthetics of military technologies some unintended outcomes, in order, first of all, to expose their often invisible networks, then to reassign these important, even beautiful, images (and the techniques which create them) to their rightful place in a history of images, and third, to mark the memory of violence and disaster in the information they contain.


Recent Submissions

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    Rockefeller New Media Foundation Proposal
    Kurgan, Laura (2006-11-20T20:24:08Z)
    Using the highest-resolution satellite imagery available to anyone outside the U.S. or Russian military or intelligence community, I am interested in creating digital images of the monochrome landscapes which represent some of the most vulnerable sites of the 21st century. The landscapes look familiar, even stereotyped - blue (the Atlantic Ocean), green (the Cameroon rain forest), yellow (the Iraqi desert), and white (the Alaskan tundra). But they are produced with instruments and materials (commonplace and yet still extraordinary ones) that in their very construction call into question the material which constitutes a landscape. These landscapes, these images, ask profound questions about their own future -- and ours --even as they adopt the formal strategies of the most abstract, non-referential, 'aesthetic' of the last century's museum pieces.