One year ago, I started collecting screen captures of Google Street Views from a range of Street View blogs and through my own hunting. This essay illustrates how my Street View collections reflect the excitement of exploring this new, virtual world. The world captured by Google appears to be more truthful and more transparent because of the weight accorded to external reality, the perception of a neutral, unbiased recording, and even the vastness of the project. At the same time, I acknowledge that this way of photographing creates a cultural text like any other, a structured and structuring space whose codes and meaning the artist and the curator of the images can assist in constructing or deciphering.
It came out in 2009, but I haven't seen it before. At a first glance, it looks like a synecdochical account of the world at the moment--like the kind of video montage you might see at customs at JFK, but not so maniacally cheerful. The 9 Eyes summary documents some instances of beauty, fun, and camaraderie, but others of danger and decay. Rafman's essay, linked above, discusses the increasing significance of curation as a sub