In her 2012 White Shadows: What is Missing from Images lecture at the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts in Poland, Hito Steyerl speaks about how new technologies force us to reformulate important questions about the making visible, capturing, and documenting of information. In the first part of her talk, Steyerl focuses on the use of 3D scanning in forensic crime scene investigations. Steyerl explains how the 3D scanner, or LiDAR technology (Light Detection And Ranging), sends laser beams that reflect off of the surfaces of the objects that are being scanned. In this process, each point in space is measured and finally compiled as a 3D facsimile point cloud of a space. Steyerl states that this kind of capturing does not just provide a completely new image of reality or possibility for capturing the ‘truth’. In fact, she takes issue with the general belief that this type of new technology should be described as the ultimate documentary, forensic tool; a tool that produces 100% reliable, true evidence.

Just like any other technology, Steyerl argues, VR has its affordances, and with these affordances come blind spots: for instance, only a few scanning rigs are advanced enough to capture a moving object. Generally, a moving object becomes a blur or is not picked up at all. A “2.5D” scanning rig (a rig with just one 3D scanner that scans a space) can only provide the surface data of one side of the scanned object space. As a result, the final scan of an object or space includes blind spots: the back of the objects or shadows cast by objects in front of an object which, depending on the displaying technology, sometimes show up as an empty, white shell…

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