Torino Foto Festival – New Landscapes

A View From Above



OGR Torino

Curated by
Domenico Quaranta, Salvatore Vitale con Samuele Piazza

Artists: James Bridle, Laura Cinti, Mario Giacomelli, Mishka Henner, Hiwa K, Tabita Rezaire, Evan Roth, Susan Schuppli, Tomas Van Houtryve

In recent years the view from above, a once exceptional point of view reserved to people in power and inhuman agents like birds, angels and gods, has become widespread and accessible. In 2011, artist and writer Hito Steyerl introduced the concept of ‘vertical perspective’ to address the “departure of a stable paradigm of orientation”, and to describe what can be seen, to all effects, as the emergence of a new scopic regime.

By replacing the stable horizon and the role played by linear perspective along modernity, vertical perspective established ‘a new visual normality’, firmly rooted in the tools of surveillance and warfare. First perceived as a liberation and a new way of seeing, vertical perspective loses its romantic grip to become identified with the point of view of the power that kills and controls when satellites and drones enter the equation. Always the outcome of a constructed, machine-aided experience of the world, the view from above delocalizes and ultimately de-humanizes the gaze, allowing a God’s eye view on reality not only in terms of position, but also in the way it captures additional information and data; it looks through reality instead of sticking to its surface, and generates ‘total images’ that are both and neither images and maps, representations and visualizations blurring the difference between place and space.

By adopting vertical perspective as its main point of view, the exhibition explores the way in which our look on landscapes through the camera eye has changed along the last decades, and how this shift in scopic regimes affected the way we control, design and shape the environment we live in.

Mario Giacomelli, Paesaggi, anni ’60, Stampa ai sali d’argento, 38,7 x 29,4 cm, Courtesy Collezione Massimo Prelz Oltramonti © Eredi Mario Giacomelli