Jon Rafman Is the Tarkovsky of Google Street View Art

March 27, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Decisive moments by Michael Wolf are very punchy. Doug Rickard’s captures are sprawl like landscape paintings. There are dozens of other artists who sensitively scour the infinite passages of Google Street View for good screengrabs, but Rhizome has just reminded us of Jon Rafman and he is the best at this.

Everyone does car accidents. Rafman’s car accident is a pathetically baby-blue car that’s tucked itself face-down into the trees between the spreading paths of a highway, a mystical absurdity. Masked vandals throwing grenades at the Google truck. Hustlers thrusting their asses at the road. Violence and sadness. Alien hues, melted in the camera lens. It almost seems posed and contrived — although there is nothing more desensitized than the corporate cameras on top of corporate trucks rolling through the lives of others. These aren’t just good images; they’re revealing of forced interaction and voyeurism. They’re implicating the viewer in a scene, Haneke style, in all this that has been robotically farmed in compounding slices.

The 9-eyes project has been previously exhibited, and is ongoing.