My work shows three different photo series – my „journey“ takes me to Mexico and the destroyed coastal areas of Japan, ending with a third, fictional documentary of the troubled regions in the Middle East. It only becomes clear upon closer inspection that these pictures are not reproductions originating from a photographer’s camera during an actual trip. Instead of travelling the real world, I have traveled the world from my desktop. I put the spotlight on the image world of Google Street View by producing screenshots of my places of choice. Thanks to processing and montage work, I have created an aesthetic that references the specific picture strategies of American photographers like Joel Sternfed and Stephen Shore. By reverting to the auto-produced landscape images taken by Google Street View and by not putting in an appearance of myself either as the author of an image or as an eyewitness, I highlight the meaning of the authorial and witness role in the production of photographic images. The third part of my work continues that train of thougt. As before, Street View images are the basis, but their function is restricted to a space giving stage. I created these images by superimposing details from photojournalistic images onto my starting material. I release the Streetview images from their topographical context (for instance the spanish island of Fuerteventura) and transform them into conflict regions by adding (typical) visual references. A street in Sao Paulo/Brazil is populated by demonstrators from Iran and Greece, and perhaps a child is just playing, yet also possibly fleeing from an Iranian policeman on a motorbike. On Fuerteventura, a dead member of the Taliban lies on the red sand, in the backround, a Mosque is superimposed on the image. The scene is immediately located in Afghanistan. The locations and details converge and are exchangeable, while the pictures have the same variability and arbitrary quality that enables the user to switch continent in Google Streetview with a single mouseclick. The appearance of my picture montage as purely Streetview material is specifically intended to pose the question of the (historical) potential power which is intrinsic in Google´s efforts to compile the most comprehensive photo archive of the globe.
EXCLUSIVE ARTWORK BY FABIAN ROOK: