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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Google Street View's Nine Eyes

Several electric powered vehicles from Google are driving through the world and taking panoramic pictures with 9 lenses on a singe pole. As this is automatic / robotic photography, no artists- or documentarists eyes are behind them. But even though the pictures carry some strange message.

A canadian artist  Jon Rafman has collected many of them, some of them interesting, the others appealing. "I chose these images precisely because they assert their uniqueness and resist categorization.", writes Rafman in an introduction [pdf] to a collection of them. "Street View photography, artless and indifferent, without human intention,  ascribes no particular significance to any event or person. Bereft of context, history or meaning, the  only glue holding the Street View images together is geospatial contiguity. Such a perspective does not easily contain the sublime. ", he continues.

But some of the pictures are carrying interesting atmosphere even without any kind of composition or  light/apperture/film or whatever other techniques.

The others are realistic without any kind of intention or stylisation. However the selection itself is an artistic aspect as well and to put these pictures in perspective / comparison with others definitely influence their perception.

Since this is a street view project so many cars were met and photographed. Unfortunately in this collection I did not spotted any Saab (there are other coordinates with many Saabs) but these two are interesting as well. A Morgan (?) and a Back To The Future DeLorean DMC-12.

I am not a fan of Street View, it is indeed an attack of privacy. It's still not in my home city Bratislava, but preparations are underway. Street View also responds to the weird curiosity of people to see how other people are living and as usual compare "how am I doing". Due some people's nature some of the pictures can easily initiate negative feelings of maliciousness or enviousness.

The reason to putting these links on my blog is that this selection is maybe the only one, which shows the photos from different perspective than documentaristic. Like this one :)

 Sources and links :, Jon Rafman, Art Fag City essay

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