In 2008, Jon Rafman started collecting images from Google Street View. Many of those imaged show humans in their most vulnerable situations, for example bathing naked in the sea, being robbed, robbing, fleeing, chasing, visiting prostitutes, being harassed, threatened with a knife, or pulled over the pavement by their hair. Then, there are situations of a pile of lost suitcases, or a bus that had an accident and that is balancing on the edge of a high bridge, leaving the viewer in confusion whether it will fall or not. Google sees everything, and Rafman simply archives this. It is worth it to visit the website 9eyes every now and then, as the images change about once a month. But Rafman also has published collections of archived images in books, magazines and in exhibition spaces.
Despite the photos often showing cruel or threatening situations, there is always a sense of aesthetic present. The work also addresses notion of privacy, or the lack thereof. Some of the faces must be blurred for publication, but the viewer is aware that it is possible to look up these pictures by themselves, and get to know the faces of the people that are, unknowingly, involved. Everything is registered through the interface. It seems like we can’t hide.