A Quiet Desert Failure, be patient, the desert is coming


Be patient, the desert is coming. Every year, humanity loses about seven million hectares of fertile land due to the advancement of the desert areas of the world, a phenomenon known as desertification. The main causes, in addition to climate change, are identified in anthropic behaviours such excessive pasturing, inappropriate farming techniques, deforestation and pollution, among many others. The Sahara, with its more than 9 million square kilometres of land, is the largest hot desert in the world and the artist Guido Segni (another stage name of Italian Clemente Pestelli) decided to map it all. Obviously it’s not him doing “the dirty work”, but a tireless bot that every 30 minutes places on a Tumblr page an image of the desert coming from Google Maps database. The performance, which will eventually collect a million samples of the desert, is focused on the mechanism of production and filling of the physical places of the internet (data centres) with seemingly useless information. The work will last about 50 years, a very extended time for a piece of digital art. Nobody knows if the Google server, the Tumblr archive, the same internet network and the audience will live to see the end. You can take advantage of the wait by noticing a hazy relationship between misuse of technology and desertification, something that sounds like a strong, terrible accusation. Failure, in fact. Benedetta Sabatini


Guido Segni, A quiet desert failure 1