Every Building [Transition] on the [Google Street View] Sunset Strip

Every Building [Transition] on the [Google Street View] Sunset Strip
Two-channel high-definition digital video
21:05 minutes (looped), 16:9, colour, sound
Edition of 6 + 2 AP

Every Building [Transition] on the [Google Street View] Sunset Strip is a wall-sized diptych of video projections revisiting and reimagining Edward Ruscha’s 25-foot-long accordion-folded book Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) in the interest of gaining a better understanding of contemporary photography in the current juncture of conceptual uncertainty and technological transition. The work, shot entirely with Google Street View in 2016 and edited in 2021—I sat on the raw footage for 5 years not knowing what to do with it—blends the relatively unchanged industrialised urban landscape of Los Angeles, which resembles any other industrialised city, with the imaging and digital mapping technologies of the surveillance age. I have always been intrigued by Google Street View’s metamorphosis from an experiment in 2007 into the massive and ever-growing archive that it is today. While editing the work frame-by-frame—there are 120,000 frames in total—I decided to focus on the mishap glitched frames (a natural snag/flaw that happens in Street View as the frames transition). I was interested in emphasising the medium as the visual source of inspiration—in the same way that Ruscha was interested in the artistic idea or concept—as well as the fluidness between digital information and art, and between new technologies and old systems. On a more personal note, I am fascinated by the play between originality and imitation—the copy of a copy of a copy of a copy (forever repeating for aeons and aeons)—throughout the history of art, so it was a reflective experience to drive down the Sunset Strip 50 years after Ruscha. There is no art, or art history, without borrowing, appropriation, fraud, plagiarism, and theft. Art, especially digitally-derived art (and music), is a mashup of aesthetic approaches that question authorship, while relying on the authority of the original for validation—I guess I should say ‘thanks Ruscha!’