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Ghosts in the Machine

Michael Wolf lets Google do the stalking.


Year after year, Google’s car-mounted robot cameras prowl public streets, all over America and beyond, backed up by software that stitches those images together into the nearly seamless panopticon known as Street View. Those neighborhoods are never entirely depopulated, of course, which means the photographer Michael Wolf can find subjects without leaving his desk. For “iseeyou,” the exhibition opening at Bruce Silverstein on October 28, he’s done his own parallel crawl through those images, spending hundreds of hours trolling for people in unexpected poses: fighting, kissing, flipping the bird. Then he rephotographs them, right off the computer screen, his cropping and juxtapositions heightening the otherworldliness of these artifacts. “I am reminded of Antonioni’s Blow-Up,” Wolf says. “At times, I feel like a digital stalker. In Paris, I discovered the woman whom my wife replaced, standing on the road in front of her office.” Look closely at these images yourself: You never know when you’ll spot a familiar face, or even your own.

By Michael Wolf. Bruce Silverstein Gallery. October 28–December 24.


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