Jon Rafman

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Rafman in 2013

Jon Rafman (born 1981) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist. His work centers around the concept of the impact of technology on contemporary consciousness. His artwork has gained international attention and was exhibited in 2015 at Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (Montreal).[1] He is widely known for exhibiting found images from Google Street View (9-Eyes).


Rafman was born in Montreal, Canada. He holds an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from McGill University. He lives in Montreal.


Rafman giving a lecture in Moscow, Spring 2012

Rafman's work focuses on technology and digital media, and emphasizes the ways in which it distances us from ourselves. He offers a way to look at the melancholy in our modern social interactions, communities and virtual realities from an accessible place of humour and irony. His films and art utilize personal moments intended to reveal how pop-culture ephemera and advertising media shape our desires and threaten to define our being.[citation needed]

He has explored the identities and history of some of our most common virtual worlds— Google Earth, Google Street View and Second Life.[citation needed]

Though Rafman rarely takes a moral stance toward the messaging behind his art, it consistently asks us to evaluate what it means to be human in the context of these new and ambiguous digital realms. Rafman celebrates and critiques contemporary culture, while at the same time revealing the origins of modern loneliness and alienation.[citation needed]

An ongoing project of Rafman's involves a tour around the virtual universe of Second Life, which is hosted by his avatar Kool-Aid Man. The work deals with how users employ creative exploits in order to bring to life an idealized self and entertain sexual fetishes in the virtual world.[citation needed]

In September 2013, Rafman collaborated with Brooklyn-based experimental musician Oneohtrix Point Never on a film to accompany the release of R Plus Seven (Warp).[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]


Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • Annals of Time Lost, Future Gallery, Berlin, April 2013[citation needed]
  • A Man Digging, Seventeen Gallery, London, May 2013[citation needed]
  • You Are Standing in an Open Field, Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, September 2013[citation needed]
  • I have ten thousand compound eyes and each is named suffering, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, May 2016[citation needed]

Group exhibitions[edit]

Publications with contributions by Rafman[edit]


  1. ^ "Jon Rafman | Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal". Retrieved 2016-05-08. 
  2. ^ Tim Walker (2012-07-25). "Google Street View photographs: the man on the street - Features - Art". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  3. ^ "The street views Google wasn't expecting you to see – in pictures | Art and design". 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  4. ^ "Jon Rafman's Surreal Google Street View Accidents (PHOTOS)". 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  5. ^ "The Nine Eyes of Google Street View: a photo project by Jon Rafman". Telegraph. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  6. ^ "The Portraits of Google Street View - Alexis C. Madrigal". The Atlantic. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  7. ^ Rafman, Jon (2012-05-04). "Interview: Jon Rafman, The lack of history in the post-Internet age". eyecurious. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  8. ^ "Jon Rafman and Rosa Aiello: Remember Carthage". New Museum. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  9. ^ "Global Entertainment". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  10. ^ Twerdy, Saelan. "Jon Rafman: Mapping Google - Canadian Art". Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  11. ^ Jon Rafman (2009-08-12). "IMG MGMT: The Nine Eyes of Google Street View". Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  12. ^ Karl-Magnus Johansson (2013), Communicating the Archive : Physical Migration, The Regional State Archives in Gothenburg. ISBN 978-91-979866-3-2

External links[edit]