Note — Feb 21, 2021

Tim Portlock on Software Cities and the New American Sublime

Very short piece at Artforum, which I’m sharing because it’s an artist’s practice that touches on topics we’ve looked at before; gaming engines used for other applications, hints of the Metaverse, speaking the futures we want, and another “sublime.” (See: The sublime, new models of the sublime, systemic sublime, logistical sublime.)

I wanted to address that through the landscape genre, and show how landscape painting is a kind of mapmaking—demarcating the qualities of familiar and unfamiliar places, inventing ways of characterizing the unknown. […]

I definitely took this idea from computer culture, but I’m also trying to draw a parallel between the way data is understood and how artists who made landscape images in the nineteenth century were selective—and omissive—in order to propagandize notions of progress and “greatness. […]

I think that seeing prismatic skies in the reflections of those buildings says something about how we’re now experiencing the sublime.

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