Salty Glitches

Till Rückwart

Location: Arena

Salty Glitches is a counter-mapping project that uses satellite imagery to explore the relationship between technology, humans and nature as revealed by digital errors. By scanning QR codes, people can encounter the glitches on their own smartphone and become materially connected to the origin of the device’s battery.
Off Stage

The project highlights colorful misrepresentations in Google Earth’s use of satellite imagery that emerge due to malfunctioning software. These glitches occur in the salt deserts of South America. They leave the spectator slightly irritated, yet in awe. While problematizing notions of truth in digital media, they also draw attention to the area they’re located in: lithium mines in Chile’s Atacama Desert and at the Caucharí-Olaroz project in Argentina.

A glitch can be best described as an unintentional error produced by software. It offers the potential to reflect on the fault lines along which our digital society is constructed. In this way, the glitch helps us to better understand the technical logics of our media-saturated environments. Salty Glitches also discloses how satellite imagery is produced. By examining the glitches, we get a vague idea of the complex apparatuses surveilling the Earth from orbit using multi-lense technology.

As a result of bug reports and updated photo material, these glitches quickly become outdated. Hence, the project is part of an ongoing process to document and emphasize these glitches in order to preserve how software continuously obfuscates our world and thus guides our worldview.

By scanning QR codes linked to the photos, people can discover the lithium mines in Chile's Atacama Desert and in the Caucharí Olaroz project in Argentina with their own smartphones. Maybe a glitch has changed when the satellite imagery was updated? Or maybe they have already disappeared.

Media Artist