Net.Artist Jon Rafman

Google Street View

Google Street View began in 2007 with an attempted goal of documenting the world seen from a moving car. It started in a select number of U.S. cities but has expanded to a worldwide scale. This new automated image making process was used to capture everything. The cameras would shoot from a neutral point of view, despite a code of ethics, or aesthetics. Jon Rafman, began the ongoing project in 2008 known as Nine Eyes of Google Street View, where he collects screenshots of Google Street View.

Rafman’s screenshots have a large range of subject matter, whether it’s people standing in the street or a simple landscape scene at sunrise. In an interview with Michael Nardone, Rafman says that he has “always seen a Google Street View image as essentially a ‘memory’ that nobody has actually had”. The snippets of these unplanned moments that Rafman captures are a sort of way to approach the memory of a culture and it’s history.

These photos are uploaded to the internet in blog posts or as PDF’s and printed on a large scale for exhibitions, as well as in books. By publishing them both digitally and as prints he is putting them in different contexts of the history of image making through photography and even painting. Rafman is taking these unknowing subjects, putting them on display, and giving them a narrative and meaning in a physical form and a name.