IMG MGMT: The Nine Eyes of Google Street View
By Jon Rafman. (artfagcity.com)
Two years ago, Google sent out an army of hybrid electric automobiles, each one bearing nine cameras on a single pole. Armed with a GPS and three laser range scanners, this fleet of cars began an endless quest to photograph every highway and byway in the free world.
One year ago, I started collecting screen captures of Google Street Views from a range of Street View blogs and through my own hunting.
The world captured by Google appears to be more truthful and more transparent because of the weight accorded to external reality, the perception of a neutral, unbiased recording, and even the vastness of the project.
This way of photographing creates a cultural text like any other.
Street View collections represent our experience of the modern world, and in particular, the tension they express between our uncaring, indifferent universe and our search for connectedness and significance
Although Google’s photography is obtained through an automated and programmed camera, the viewer interprets the images.
This method of photographing, artless and indifferent, does not remove our tendency to see intention and purpose in images.
Its cameras witness but do not act in history. For all Google cares, the world could be absent of moral dimension.
The artist/curator challenges Google’s imperial claims and questions the company’s right to be the only one framing our cognitions and perceptions.