Jon Rafman (1981) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from McGill University and a M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His films and new media work have been exhibited internationally including at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome and the New Museum in New York City.
Rafman’s art explores the paradoxes of modernity by mixing irony, humour, and melancholy. As an artist using digital media, his work is informed by the rich potential provided by contemporary technology in its possibility for celebrating and critiquing contemporary experience. But as an artist, whose subject is the human experience, he aligns himself with the artist’s historical role in capturing the moral dimension in ambiguous contexts. [Source]
Rafman’s most popular project to date is undoubtedly, Nine Eyes of Google Street View. The project has been featured in various publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Harper’s. You can see the entire collection on his website 9-eyes.com
The site name makes reference to the nine cameras mounted to the tops of Google cars that have been responsible for mapping the world. The nine cameras automatically capture whatever moves through their frame every 10-20 meters. In Rafman’s own words:
“The detached gaze of their cameras witness but do not act in history. Street View photography, artless and indifferent, without human intention, ascribes no particular significance to any event or person. Bereft of context, history or meaning, the only glue holding the Street View images together is geospatial contiguity. Such a perspective does not easily contain the sublime.” [Source (PDF)]
Below you will find a small selection of Jon’s various finds on Google Street View; each one a proverbial needle in a haystack of digital data. His painstaking curation and ability to find and frame fleeting moments of life around the world is truly remarkable. Be sure to head to 9-eyes.com to see the entire series.
If you enjoyed this post, the Sifter highly recommends: