INSULAE (Of the Island)


Flying at drone height over glitching waves INSULAE [Of the Island] contemplates the impact of island geography on national identity in the time of Brexit, through a perpetually looping digitally-reconstructed tour of the waters just off the British coastline. With the ocean as a metaphorical buffer between the UK and the rest of the world, the viewer is taken on a journey - endlessly circling the entire British mainland, obsessively patrolling these watery borders. The deeply emotive concept of the national border is re-framed as aesthetics through the distancing godgaze of the satellite imagery.

Created using Google Earth - initially developed as a CIA global surveillance tool - this AI-powered imagery has the quality of looking like ‘reality’ but in fact it is a patchwork of data from different sources, processed, visually enhanced, artificially beautified and reconstructed by Google and the major satellite imaging suppliers. Artefacts and glitches become incorporated into the visual narrative, and fleeting moments are frozen, distorted and monumentalised. Some areas may be removed or obscured behind the scenes at the request of governments with sufficient political clout. So this vision of the world comes to echo the way a popular historical narrative is constructed: assembled from multiple sources, strategically enhanced but with key political agendas obscured.

INSULAE is a 16:9 vertical video with no sound. As a single channel video installation it has a duration of 355m 51s and can be meaningfully encountered by an audience at any point within the cycle.

This work is available for touring. Please contact studio[at]

INSULAE in YOU and AI, Athens 2021.

"YOU and AI", Athens 2021. Image credit: Stelios Tzetzias

INSULAE was a joint commission between Lumen Art Projects, Sky Arts 50 and the Barbican Centre.

INSULAE (Of the Island) : Irish Sea : Part 12 of 16 : REMASTERED EXCERPT FOR HOME VIEWING