The nine eyes of Google Street View (Photos)
In 2007, Google launched a seemingly Sisyphean task: A fleet of vans set off to photograph the streets of the world, from the street level. Each vehicle had nine cameras attached to a pole and the mission was to capture the world's roads with those cameras. Since its launch, Google Street View has been both controversial and cause for amusement. The FCC is investigating the program for a breach of privacy and Web sites have been dedicated to the pursuit of finding the most ridiculous moments captured by the roving cameras.
One man, though, decided to approach the Street View in a different way, from the approach of an artist. Canadian artist Jon Rafman has scanned thousands of Street View photographs to explore the gritty reality found in the images. He created a collection of the best images in an photographic essay called Nine Eyes. In an essay on the project, Rafman writes:
With its supposedly neutral gaze, the Street View photography had a spontaneous quality unspoiled by the sensitivities or agendas of a human photographer. It was tempting to see the images as a neutral and privileged representation of reality--as though the Street Views, wrenched from any social context other than geospatial contiguity, were able to perform true docu-photography, capturing fragments of reality stripped of all cultural intentions. ... Google Street Views present a universe observed by the detached gaze of an indifferent Being. Its cameras witness but do not act in history. For all Google cares, the world could be absent of moral dimension.
Here are some of my favorite images. See more of his work here. Or go see some of the Street View prints at the New Museum in New York. They are part of the show "Free," which runs until January 23, 2011.
| November 15, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories: Picture Shows
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Posted by: mapper99 | November 15, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse