Photo blogger Florian Freier recently put together a collection of cached Google Maps images, which he’s calling Cached Landscapes. He used the search giant’s mapping service to find military bases, embassies, and other sites of German signal intelligence. The images were taken from a sub-folder with a thumbnail cache of all the web pages he visited. Freier took inspiration from artist Trevor Paglen, who is best known for exploring the world of surveillance.
Google Maps: Florian Freier’s winning entry
Paglen invited others to document surveillance structures in Germany, and he promised to include some of the entries in a Frankfurt exhibit. He told publication frieze d/e that he encouraged artists to think of metaphors and create images to help everyone understand mass surveillance.
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Freier’s work is the winning entry to Paglen’s contest, and he enjoyed the project and hopes it will be taken with understanding and deep meaning. Freier said he didn’t have a set of guidelines to create the masterpiece. He also admitted that he used both Google Maps and Photoshop to replicate something similar to the Bahrain I, which the Tate Gallery describes as “a portrait-format color photograph” of the Bahrain International Circuit created by German artist Andreas Gursky.
Inspiration behind the project
Freier summed up his project best in his blog post, saying, “If today’s internet traffic might be systematically tracked, it is pretty sure that the download of these files to my computer also have been noticed by the related programs and organizations and in return might be interpreted as a an act of suspect behavior.”
According to Wired, Freier concluded if the stories about how secret organizations track and store everyone’s data are true, “spying on surveillance stations in Google Maps is something that definitely brings you on the screen of these organizations.”