Remote sensing

Joe Hamilton

September 14 - December 16 2017

IPSUM is pleased to present Remote Sensing, the first solo show of Australian artist Joe Hamilton in Spain.

At his first exhibition at IPSUM the artist shows new works that deal with the effect of remote sensing technology on the representation of landscape. Remote sensing refers to the activities of recording or observing (sensing) objects or events using sensors that are far away (remotely) from them. The output of a remote sensing system is usually an image that should be then interpreted and analysed to extract useful information. More specifically, remote sensing refers to the use of satellite- or aircraft-based sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth, the atmosphere and oceans, based on propagated signals (radars, satellites, ultrasounds, etc.). Remote sensing is indispensable for a whole range of products, analyses and forecasts that affect establishment and management decisions, scheduling, trading, natural resource management, ecosystem conservation, climate observation, military operations and more. While many of these fields are highly specialised, the outcomes have a fundamental impact on how we live our lives and how we see the world around us.

In the exhibited works, the artist uses imagery created through remote sensing technologies as an opportunity to investigate concerns within them while exploring the inherent aesthetic qualities of the specialised imaging techniques without being tied to a technical or scientific outcome. In ‘Fractional Cover’, high resolution satellite imagery covering a vast area in Australia has been collected from public data sources, digitally processed and finally printed in two layers. The bottom layer, known as a Fractional Cover image, is a representation of the proportions of photosynthetic vegetation (green), dry or non-photosynthetic vegetation (blue), and bare surface cover (red). The top layer shows a summary of water coverage with data used from various satellites passing over Australia between 1987 and 2014. Images such as these are created to best highlight the features by strategically processing different wavelengths of light (some of which are not visible to the naked eye) to produce what are called false colour images. Interestingly, the fact that this image is shown in Spain adds to it’s remoteness. The two sculptures, ‘Component A’ and ‘Component B’ are a continuation of the artist´s work with framework structures. The structures are used to represent infrastructure while the images that wrap the structures represent materials, processes and data that flow through this infrastructure. In these works, the images represent the transmission of remote sensing data from orbiting satellites to data centres on the earth’s surface and then through network infrastructure embedded under the earth’s surface. In the video work, ‘Spectrum’, multicoloured landscape scenes create a flowing sequence that emulates the scanning motion of orbiting satellite sensors constantly sweeping over the earth’s surface. The landscapes include appropriated footage from nature documentaries and satellite imagery from publicly available datasets that are coloured adjusted to resemble false colour images commonly used in the analysis of remote sensing data. The video is a new representation of landscape that strikes a balance between the human eye and machine, and questions conventional notions of colour, scale and structure in the world around us.

Joe Hamilton was born in 1982 in Tasmania, Australia and currently lives and works in Melbourne. Recent exhibitions include An Anonymous Algorithm at Rogaland Kunstsenter in Norway, The View Beyond the Trees at Zuckerman Museum in United States and Shared Spaces at Neuer Kunstverein Aschaffenburg in Germany