The art blog Art Fag City recently published a brilliant and insightful photo essay by Jon Rafman, titled “IMG MGMT: The Nine Eyes of Google Street View“. Through text and Street View images, Rafman critically interrogates the gaze of Street View, exposing the ways in which it frames our view of the world, while at the same time constraining it.
Below are some of the Street View images he has found, along with his closing remarks. I urge everyone to read and feel the entire essay.
The collections of Street Views both celebrate and critique the current world. To deny Google’s power over framing our perceptions would be delusional, but the curator, in seeking out frames within these frames, reminds us of our humanity. The artist/curator, in reasserting the significance of the human gaze within Street View, recognizes the pain and disempowerment in being declared insignificant. The artist/curator challenges Google’s imperial claims and questions the company’s right to be the only one framing our cognitions and perceptions.