Carlos Gallery (The University of the South) / 105 Kennerly Rd., Sewanee , TN November 2 - December 13th
Stefan Jennings Batista
The series Google Beach is a photographic exploration of Batista’s home state of Florida via the use of Google’s street view application. In recent years, that photo based interactive platform has been expanded beyond the street to visually map the entire Florida coastline. Having grown up along the Gulf coast in Southwest Florida, Batista is able to revisit places he once stood as a child and walk the beaches he has walked in reality through his computer. However, as a digital viewer and navigator, questions arise as to the complex nature of this kind of interactive photo archive.
The photographs in Google Beach take the forms of large-scale printed triptychs referencing romantic era painting and 3 x 5 inch black & white snapshots that recall a post war leisure culture along the American shoreline. The visual digital distortions inherent to the automated 3d mapping process reference their origin and stand in opposition to their physicality as seemingly intentional photographic objects. Informed by issues of privacy, intimacy and landscape representation Google Beach is at once a nostalgic framing of the past as well as a look into the questionable status quo of the photographic and larger digital future.