Artist Focus 9: Jon Rafman

19 September, 2013

Montreal born artist, filmmaker and essayist, Jon Rafman, has exhibited in many places such as Tokyo, Rome and London, and his work has been featured in several magazines and newspapers.

The effects of digital media on everyday experience, individual consciousness, and social and cultural memory that are inspired by the rich contradiction that technology presents are at the centre of Jon Rafman’s work.

9 eyes

Jon Rafman takes images directly from Google Street View and represents them to us in large scale photographic prints. By carefully choosing images which are captured by the automatic ‘9 eyes’ of the Google Street View car, he shows us that the automatic, robotic way of capturing the world tells us more than Google may have imagined.

Aiming to give us an impartial view of ‘how’ a place looks, the Google project to photograph the globe actually tells us far more. The camera shooting without human interference loses any moral or social interaction with the subject. At the same time providing us with images that reference every type of photography. The automatic eyes capture everything from street violence to beautiful romantic landscapes.

The styles of the photos produced range from news-like images through documentary and street photography to wildlife and landscape. By presenting these images, Rafman nudges us to question not only the role of photography in our lives today, what we choose to share and what we do not, who owns our image but also the entire history of photography itself.

The Internet allows us to view the world in new and serendipitous ways and Rafman shows us that this new media is also allowing us to view the world afresh, explore and reconnect with the sublime and romantic notions of finding yourself in a new landscape.

‘This very way of recording our world, this tension between the gaze of an automated camera and a human who seeks meaning, reflects our modern experience. As social beings we want to matter and we want to matter to someone, we want to count and we want be counted.’ Jon Rafman

His project 9 eyes

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