Street Ghost is a project by Paolo Cirio. As Paolo states on the website: “In this project, I exposed the specters of Google’s eternal realm of private, misappropriated data: the bodies of people captured by Google’s Street View cameras, whose ghostly, virtual presence I marked in Street Art fashion at the precise spot in the real world where they were photographed”
Street Ghosts places low resolution posters of people taken from Google Street View and places them right at the exact place where the photo was taken. Paolo uses the photo, with the Google watermark on them, and puts them in a lot of “Street Art Hall of Fames” in Berlin, NYC, London just to name a few.
Since Berlin is a hub of Street Art and Graffiti, a typical Berliner would probably not blink an eye at this type of paste up, especially were Paolo put this work. All along Dircksenstrasse in Berlin Mitte, you can see works for hundreds of different street artists and graffiti artists so seeing another paste up would probably not matter to most people but this project is very topical and very different.
With Berlin’s history, people having their photos taken without their permission is always a sensitive topic. And rightfully so. Less that 25 years ago, Berliners living in the East were spied on relentlessly by friends, neighbors, and even family members. (See: Stasi; Secret Police of the East – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi). So it is very appropriate that Paolo brings his idea to a city that has this type of privacy history. In 2011, Germany brought a halt to Google Street View (See:http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/11/google_street_view_germany/) But all the images taken prior to this ruling are still up. Google just will not expand or update any of the images. It begs to ask the question: Who is taking your picture without you knowing and what are they doing with this data?
You can follow Paolo’s fantastic, eery project here: http://streetghosts.net