“….For today’s digital artists, the code and algorithms we live in present a similar frontier. They’re our new environment, offering us striking new experiences and abilities. As James Bridle points out, using something as prosaic as the location check-in app Foursquare requires a feat of superhuman sensing—pinging GPS satellites launched into space by the military—that is frankly sort of nuts if you think about it. Yet generally we don’t think about it. So the unifying thread of the new digital artists is to make us notice our technological environment—to enable us to scrutinize the digital furniture of our lives instead of just sinking into it. Aitken blazed the way with video, making our glimmering LCD screens seem uncanny. The new generation of digital artists coming in his wake are going one step further: They’re not just using our daily tools to make art. They’re turning it into a ubiquitous gallery.
Consider Brooklyn artist Molly Dilworth , who’s done a series she calls Paintings for Satellites. She painted seven huge abstract works on the roofs of buildings in New York and Kansas and then waited for weeks or months until they showed up on Google Earth. When you look at the pictures—most of which are still visible online—you realize with a shock precisely how bionic online maps make us. It’s human vision streaming through satellites. “When we’re on our phones, we’re looking through satellites,” she tells me. Sure, the paintings are lovely and witty. But they’re also disturbing, because the mere act of viewing them makes you feel like you’re spying, which is precisely the point….”