Nine Eyes
Stranger Than Fiction

May 21 2020

In 2008, Jon Rafman began to collect screenshots of images from Google Street View. At the time, Street View was a relatively new initiative, an effort to document everything in the world that could be seen from a moving car. A massive, undiscerning machine for image-making whose purpose is to simply capture everything, Street View takes photographs without apparent concern for ethics or aesthetics, from a supposedly neutral point of view.

This neutral gaze of the machine is becoming an ever-present reality, recording all those moments previously lost in time, that are fleeting beyond memory, or went wholly unwitnessed. Now we can wonder whether a sunset only seen by non-human eyes is losing anything of its marvelous beauty.

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This very way of recording our world, this tension between an automated camera and a human who seeks meaning, reflects our modern experience.
Jon Rafman