"Thus the life of the collector manifests a dialectical tension between the poles of disorder and order." – Walter Benjamin
My series of satellite prints is a collection of collections, in that each print houses a selection of things cut out from Google Satellite View – whether that be swimming pools, parking lots or sections of the Great Salt Lake. Though geographically they represent a vast (and fragmented) amount of landscape, the collections carry with them the feelings of smallness, vulnerability and nostalgia that I find inherent in satellite imagery. These prints are, on the one hand, collapsed pictures of my own disoriented wanderings through the endlessness of a scanned world – endlessly scrolling, endlessly zooming in. But they are also, as in any collection, acts of love. In accumulating, cutting out and ordering each piece of satellite imagery, I have fixed them here against the perpetual tide of updated satellite pictures and the ephemerality of the internet.
Jenny Odell grew up in the Bay Area and studied at UC Berkeley and the New School in New York. She completed an MFA in Design and Technology at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she was awarded a graduate fellowship and honored as the school's top design graduate of 2010. Much of her work—including her MFA project, Travel by Approximation—explores the (dis)connection between virtual space and lived experience and involves a particular fascination with Google's mapping technologies. Her prints, books and videos have been featured on KQED and exhibited at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Jenny lives and works as a designer in San Francisco.