Daniela Comani. Planet Earth: 21st Century, 2019

Artist book by Daniela Comani with a text by Vera Tollmann (German, English, Italian)

Soft cover,
14,8 x 10,5 cm,
768 pages,
360 photos,
black and white

Humboldt Books, Milano, 2019
ISBN ISBN: 9788899385729
Introduction by Daniela Comani

edition of 700, sold out!

taz, von Brigitte Werneburg
Der Tagesspiegel, von Nicola Kuhn

„Planet Earth: 21st Century“ stems from visual material sourced from Apple Maps Flyover and from Google Earth Virtual Reality. In 2011, Apple bought this 3D cartographic software for use on mobile devices that was originally developed for Saab-Military Industries. Starting in 2016, Google Earth VR also translated photographic material into 3D graphic models with a rendering software and GPS. Both Apps allow you to fly over cities and buildings in 3D.

I flew through the cities and made my own pictures: I chose my favourite virtual city view, took screenshots, and turned them into black and white. I selected the countries and cities based on what was avaible in 3D between 2015 and 2019. The spoils of my virtual trip are 360 postcards with streets, buildings, and monuments from cities around the world – like a quote from Godard’s „Les Carabiniers“: the scene when the two soldiers come back from their world travels with only a suitcase full of postcards.

Through this new technology, cities become a virtual reality; then, with my collected visual material, postcards are printed, referencing the analogue field.

The postcard as mass medium is a consequence of aerial photography. In the beginning of the 20th century, picture postcards with aerial photographs of cities were very popular, with the golden age of the picture postcard dating about 100 years ago.

The motifs of the postcards and atlas in „Planet Earth: 21st Century“ are the buildings and infrastructures of our cities: new landscapes conceived, created, and often destroyed and reconstructed throughout history by human beings. The urban landscape becomes an integral part of the natural one, thus modifying the nature and history of the planet.

In the work „It Was Me. Diary 1900-1999“, I wrote a personalized history of 20th Century events as re-enactment. Re-enacting geography in the era called Anthropocene, the focal point of the project „Planet Earth“ is the interaction between human perception of the planet, urban landscapes, and technology of the 21st Century.

Introduction by Daniela Comani