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Google Earth or Real Earth? I’m Getting Confused

by David Brewster on February 2, 2010

in Society,Technology

One of my very favourite cartoons is Michael Leunig’s ‘TV sunrise’. The picture of a father and son watching the sunset on television while the real thing happens just outside the window seems to capture the essence of modern life. The only problem with the cartoon is that it is a bit dated. I mean, Leunig’s characters aren’t even watching a high definition flatscreen.

Enter Oslo Davis, Melbourne illustrator and cartoonist, to bring Leunig’s image into the 21st century.

Oslo’s drawings capture percipient snippets of real life. His ‘Overheard’ cartoons are published weekly in The Sunday Age. While they always add a chuckle to our eggs and bacon, the drawing published a couple of weeks ago is the funniest and most on-the-ball yet.

"Wow - mum, look! It's just like Google Earth!" - Oslo Davis

"Wow - mum, look! It's just like Google Earth!" (Somewhere over western Victoria, Monday 3pm)

It’s amazing how a single drawing and a short quote can reflect so much of our lives back at us. I’m with this kid. It’s becoming hard to differentiate what’s real from what just looks real.

Once upon a time it was only American tourists who saw the world through the viewfinder of their video camera. Now we all do.

From one end of the week to the other the ‘real’ world is revealed to us on endless ‘reality TV’ (though if that’s the real world, I don’t know which world I’m living in). 3D is the new black of cinema, and is coming soon to a television near you. And never mind if you miss something exciting that happened in the real world. Chances are you’ll be able to rewind time and watch it all over again on YouTube.

I use Google Streetview on my iPhone so I can see what an address really looks like before I attempt to find it. But that’s just the start. Moving one step further into the realm of reality, ‘augmented reality‘ – or as BMW call it, “an extended form of reality” – is almost with us. Augmented reality glasses, which superimpose ‘helpful’ information onto real scenes, could soon be helping us do everything from navigate better to maintain complex machines. We may never see the unadulterated real world again.

Keep that pen out Oslo. Things are only going to get more weird around here.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew Graeme Gould October 5, 2011 at 2:15 am

Hello David. I’ve come across this great post of yours on a search for the Leunig cartoon that you feature here. I love the second cartoon, too.
All the best from Santiago, Andrew.


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