Smart Objects is excited to share the launch of Googlegeist: Mirrors Behind the Curtain (GSV)— An Online exhibition inside Google Street View, of Street View-based imagery.
Over the past fifteen years Google has grown to become a ubiquitous omniscient entity, which has peered into almost every aspect of our public and private lives. It has documented everything from vast stretches of the earth’s terrain to the most personal emails. The word “Google” suggests a possible answer to almost every imaginable question. Google acts as both all-seeing God and prying Big Brother, a vast repository of objective fact and personal revelation.
Gibson’s Mirrors Behind the Curtain (GSV) reveals the self-censored workings of this all-seeing, all-knowing medium. The screenshots in this Google Street View-based exhibition are rare glimpses of Google’s elusive “Street View” camera, busy at work, virtualizing the interiors of different museums, castles, and institutions of power around the world. Unlike normal Street View though, in which Google’s car and camera have been easily masked out, the museums’ and castles’ plethora of mirrors present a situation where Google cannot cover its tracks. These images are ambivalent portraits of the often invisible, panoptic power of Google’s observation.
As the crown of the exhibit, a Google photographer was paid to virtualize the gallery space— with Mirrors Behind the Curtain screenshots displayed— for inclusion into Google Street View. The GSV version of the gallery is presented within the space, on a desktop computer, acting as a culmination and reiteration of Google’s limitless eye.