2012 - 2013
When Google Street View was first launched in the UK, back in 2009 it raised considerable levels of controversy around the issues of privacy, intimacy and the use of public and private space. Ever since then, a number of artists have taken on these issues through different techniques, although the majority of them sharing the appropriation of those same images taken by Google. Daniel Mayrit’s approach is, however, radically different. Here the artist has rather constructed a new series of carefully staged tableaux, photographed in a way that feels familiar to the viewer and somehow resembles the characteristic look of Google Street View. Mayrit replicates some of the features used by Google, such as the blurred faces or the lens aberrations typical of the Google cameras. Another key element is the elevated point of view, which in a first glance relates to an angle close to that of security and surveillance cameras but which in a deeper reading could also be related to more painterly concerns, involving issues around the use of linear perspective.
On an additional level, all of the photographs have been taken in the London borough of Tottenham. Such a choice answers to the second aim of the project: to show the inefficiency of the photographic medium when it comes to represent a given subject. Suburban Scenes plays with the preconceptions relating to the infamous neighbourhood, which are often forged in people’s minds only through second hand sources, mainly mainstream media. The images challenge not only the stereotypes presented in such media, but also the way in which the spectator takes them in, according to his own knowledge, cliches, experience and context.
Ultimately the series aims to combine the pictorical and the vernacular within the same composition while giving to both the same status