Street View Ghosts

Media artist/provocateur Paolo Cirio has created a new take on street art using images of unsuspecting people captured by Google Street View. Cirio prints life-size pictures of the unidentified pedestrians and pastes the cut-outs on walls at the exact spots where they are seen in Street View for his unauthorized Street Ghosts project. According to the artist:

“In this case, the artwork becomes a performance, re-contextualizing not only data, but also a conflict. It’s a performance on the battlefield, playing out a war between public and private interests for winning control on our intimacy and habits, which can change permanently depending on the victor. Who has more strength in this war? The artist, the firm, the legislators, the public concern or the technology? This reconfiguration of informational power provokes engagement between those social agents, who are recruited through simple visual exposure.

Ghostly human bodies appear as casualties of the info-war in the city, a transitory record of collateral damage from the battle between corporations, governments, civilians and algorithms. Some of this battle has played out in the courts: for instance, the Swiss and German governments have placed legal restrictionson Google, claiming that capturing people on the street in this way violates their privacy. Google rejoins with the accuracy of its facial blurring algorithm, though it doesn’t always work. But even if it does, this is hypocrisy: the rest of their bodies, their hair or clothes are more than enough to identify them, especially for someone really interested in their private lives. On the street, the public encounters the random victims of this war as unclear, impermanent colors and shapes, inclined to fade away but always there, like ghosts haunting the streets and sometimes reappearing from the ethereal hells of digital archives.”


This entry was posted in Art, Europe, Photography, Tech and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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