Jon Rafman

“My choice of Street View both celebrates Google’s technologies and critiques the culture and consciousness it reflects. Initially I was attracted by the noisy amateur aesthetic of the raw images as Google Street Views evoked for me an urgency present in earlier street photography. With its apparent neutral gaze, the Street View photography had a spontaneous quality unspoiled by the sensitivities or agendas of a human photographer. At first, it was tempting to see the images as a neutral 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. The artist’s joy in exploring these virtual worlds led inexorably to a critique of the real world implied by such creations. Inevitably, the historical role of the artist emerged. The study of the virtual worlds of modern life revealed these virtual worlds to be roundabout ways of expressing the varieties of alienation in contemporary life.” Jon Rafman


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