Creativity 50 2011: Jon Rafman

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Jon Rafman
Jon Rafman

Google Streetview has many uses, but Canadian artist Jon Rafman thought of a new one: he succeeded in turning its images into a creative narrative.

Mr. Rafman created his "9 Eyes" project using random images from StreetView taken by the Google cameras, which he captured as screenshots then artfully placed in sequence in a "gallery" setting (either as a PDF or using large-scale digital prints). He scoured the web for weeks searching for the right images; usually something that could be portrayed as somewhat surreal, either from the photography or subject matter. The images were displayed at an exhibition held by the Sid Lee Collective in Amsterdam earlier this year.

Mr. Rafman specializes in making art out of the internet's virtual worlds -- he has also explored identity in Second Life, with an avatar he calls Kool-Aid Man, and created an online art series in which 3-D objects appear to be wrapped in famous paintings.

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