hello@marijnbril.work / Instagram / Are.na

is a Rotterdam-based media designer, researcher, and curator. With an interest in digital culture in all its complexity and foolishness, she explores topics ranging from networked images, technological mediation, to digital metaphors. She reflects upon these predominantly through curation, writing, and video.

Marijn graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in the department Media & Culture and studied Media Studies at Maastricht University.

Her work has been presented at Dutch Design Week, the Wrong Biennale, 60 Seconds Festival, PloktaTV, and her writing published at Institute of Network Cultures and Archined. For CIVA Festival she recently curated the online discourse programme ‘When I Look Through My Browser Window I Can Feel the Fresh Air’, reflecting on increasingly digitally mediated nature.

Digital Landscapes
30sec video series and essay

What started with a fascination of nature representations online, brought me to Instagram, where enormous amounts of snapshots of popular landmarks can be found. By machine learning these datasets of Lower Antelope Canyon (7.009 images), Kuang Si Falls (5.869 images) and Perito Moreno Glacier (5.954 images), Digital Lanscapes are created. The videos immerse the viewer into this endless digital landscape, that questions how our collective memories of natural sites are formed online.

Machine learning by Boris Smeenk.

Welcome to the image. You must have traveled a long way, we are very pleased to host you. In this tour, the image will show you all its facets, all its pools, all its waters, all its trees. Currently, we are 29 kilometers south of Luang Prabang, where the image begins in these shallow pools. We will follow the trail to the left, so you can really see the image well. There will be a moment in the tour when you can take photos. As you refresh the image, you can take a refreshing plunge. The water is lovely. I kindly ask you not to litter, and make sure not to leave any of your belongings behind. Together we can make sure that everyone can enjoy the image.

Please follow me as we scroll through the tour. As you might have noticed, the image has become very popular in the last few years. If you haven’t visited the image before, you might recognize it from its circulation. The crystal clear waters are plenty. 49.537 to be precise. This is the epicentre of the image, where all the images from other waters come together in the central image. Parking lots have been built, souvenir shops have been opened and tours now go five times a day.

If you look to your right, you can see a hurdle of tourists taking pictures of the image. Going home without a good image of the image would be a shame. Walter had already warned us. The authentic image will lose its flair and become a waterfall. If everything is a reproduction, does it matter in which direction the image flows? The only thing that is authentic are the discussions questioning it on the internet. It all seems real to me. The sound of water coming down, the reflection of the sun in the water, the crispiness of fish biting your toes. Try it! It feels like gentle kisses on your feet.

If you zoom in, you can see the image in its natural habitat. All it knows is a collection of pixels, after all. If that’s all you’ll ever see, don’t worry. The machine doesn’t know any better. In the end, we’ll solely remember its after-image. All 49.537 images performing together. A choreography of flows and scrolls, reduced to a hallucination of what was once waters and pools. If you look closely, you’ll see that the image is merely a square within a rectangular object in your hand.

That brings us to the end of our tour. Thank you for visiting the image. There are a lot of beautiful destinations just one click away. If you have the change, take a look at Merino Glacier and Lower Antelope Canyon. Have a safe journey home. And if wanderlust urges you to explore, the image will be here, ready to welcome you again.

Digital Landscapes was exhibited at the Epicentre, Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània Valenica, as part of the Wrong Biennale 2019.

copyright Marijn Bril, 2019