born 1981 in Canada
Jon Rafman works in photography, sculpture and installation art and he creates digital animated films which often reflect the aesthetics of virtual reality and computer games. His works address existential issues connected with the alienating effect that new technology exerts on individual experience. In many instances, Rafman takes an analytical eye to the language and visual culture pervading internet forums like 4chan and to internet subcultures occupying hidden corners of the internet that cannot be accessed with a standard browser (the so-called Deep Web).
In his “9 eyes” series, the artist turns his attention to the phenomenon that is Google’s Street View photography, which makes it possible to take virtual strolls through the world’s streets. Street View uses photos taken with a camera mounted on the roof of a Google car as it travels the streets of a given city.
For several years, Rafman has been collecting Street View photos, interpreting the events they capture and blowing them up to a scale of large format art photographs. He chooses particularly those images that depict absurd situations, acts of vandalism, fights and occasionally severe loneliness or isolation.
The artist compels us to reflect not only on the basic dangers connected with constant surveillance. He is equally interested in the way reality is reflected and the dissonance between the “impartial” mechanical eye of the Google camera and the random and intimate moments it catches.