Don’t worry, Google ‘Street Ghosts’ are not the subject of another “Haunted Connecticut” story. Let’s save that for October. These “ghosts” are far more interesting.
Over the weekend people in Downtown Hartford started noticing a photo exhibit popping up around the city that essentially looks like cutouts of random strangers. Kind of creepy, pretty neat, and also unnerving to many people.
The artist behind the project is Paolo Cirio. According to The Hartford Courant Paolo is a native of Italy and has lived in New York City for about five years now. Cirio has installed this same project in different cities around the world.
The concept is pretty simple. The strangers in the photos come from Google Street View maps. You’ve probably seen the Google Street View car driving around at some point near you. If you’ve ever used Google Street View you have seen the random people in the background when the Google car took its footage. This is how Cirio gets his subjects. Look at Google Street View, find interesting people, put them up in cities as art. Keeping with the theme of “Ghosts” which tend to come and go, the art project is temporary. It will only be up in Hartford until June 19th.
Here is an example of the same project from his Berlin project…
— Ute Vogel (@frauvogel) May 9, 2017
As you can imagine some feel that this invades these strangers privacy. Cirio disagrees. Telling The Courant,
“Where are things more public and where are they more private? Who can claim ownership over that kind of material? Who has the right to make these photographs and to exploit them commercially? Is this information public or not?” “Why would you complain about having a picture on the wall for a couple of days while it’s forever on the internet?”
I tend to agree. I’m no lawyer but this seems like if your likeness is already on Google Maps for the entire world to see then who cares if you’re up as a painting in random cities? It’s definitely less eyeballs than the internet. In fact, I wish I was used for one of these paintings! How can I submit myself Paolo? I want to be a Google Street Ghost!
If you would like to see the elusive Street Ghosts live here are the locations of a few that have already gone up in Downtown Hartford. Thanks to a few Facebook ghost hunters.
1 Corner of Haynes and Pearl
2 Asylum near the intersection of Trumbull St.
3 Main St. between the Burger King and 777 Main