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Jon Rafman (born 1981) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist. His work centers around the emotional, social and existential impact of technology on contemporary life. His artwork has gained international attention and was exhibited in 2015 at Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (Montreal). He is widely known for exhibiting found images from Google Street View in his online artwork 9-Eyes (2009-ongoing).
Rafman's work focuses on technology and digital media, often using narrative to emphasize the ways in which it connects its users back to society and history. Much of his work focuses on melancholy in modern social interactions, communities and virtual realities (primarily Google Earth, Google Street View and Second Life), while still bringing light to the beauty of them in a manner sometimes inspired by Romanticism. His videos and art utilize personal moments intended to reveal how pop culture ephemera and subcultures shape individual desires, and will often define those individuals in return.
Rafman's 'Kool-Aid Man in Second Life' project involves a tour around the virtual universe of Second Life, which is hosted by his avatar, a 3D render of the Kool-Aid Man. The project deals with how users employ social exploits in order to conjure an idealized self and, with success, entertain sexual fetishes in the virtual world.
In September 2013, Rafman collaborated with Brooklyn-based experimental musician Oneohtrix Point Never, formally known as Daniel Lopatin, on a music video for Still Life to accompany the release of R Plus Seven on Warp Records. The two later collaborated to create a two-part music video for Sticky Drama, from Lopatin's 2015 album Garden of Delete.
- Annals of Time Lost, Future Gallery, Berlin, April 2013
- A Man Digging, Seventeen Gallery, London, May 2013
- You Are Standing in an Open Field, Zach Feuer Gallery New York, September 2013
- I have ten thousand compound eyes and each is named suffering, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, May 2016
- Rencontres d’Arles
- New Jpegs, Johan Berggren Gallery in Malmo, Sweden
- Free, New Museum, New York
- Speculations on Anonymous Materials, The Fridericianum, Kassel
- New Museum, 2010
- The Saatchi Gallery, 2012
- Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, 2010
- Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 2012
- Palais de Tokyo, 2012
- The Fridericianum, 2013
Publications with contributions by Rafman
- Communicating the Archive: Physical Migration. Regional State Archives in Gothenburg. Rafman's work was included, as was an essay by Sandra Rafman, on the archival impulses of Rafman's work.
- "Jon Rafman | Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal". www.macm.org. Retrieved 2016-05-08.
- Tim Walker (2012-07-25). "Google Street View photographs: the man on the street - Features - Art". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "The street views Google wasn't expecting you to see – in pictures | Art and design". theguardian.com. 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Jon Rafman's Surreal Google Street View Accidents (PHOTOS)". Huffingtonpost.com. 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "The Nine Eyes of Google Street View: a photo project by Jon Rafman". Telegraph. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "The Portraits of Google Street View - Alexis C. Madrigal". The Atlantic. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- Rafman, Jon (2012-05-04). "Interview: Jon Rafman, The lack of history in the post-Internet age". eyecurious. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Jon Rafman and Rosa Aiello: Remember Carthage". New Museum. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Global Entertainment". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
- Twerdy, Saelan. "Jon Rafman: Mapping Google - Canadian Art". Canadianart.ca. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- Jon Rafman (2009-08-12). "IMG MGMT: The Nine Eyes of Google Street View". Artfagcity.com. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- Karl-Magnus Johansson (2013), Communicating the Archive : Physical Migration, The Regional State Archives in Gothenburg. ISBN 978-91-979866-3-2
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