Android Art: The Accidental Selfies of Google Art Project

A Robot finds itself in the Entrance Hall of the White House. Bill Clinton presides.

Within the cultural centers of the world lurks a mechanical beast draped in silver spinning madly and capturing everything, sometimes even itself.

In 2011 Google created the Art Project, an initiative to bring their Street View technology inside the cultural epicenters of the world. Google enlisted 17 world-class museums in short time. Institutions such as the Museum Kampa in Prague, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the National Gallery in London all wanted parts of their collections captured with stunning clarity so all the world could see.

To make this happen, Google had to reconfigure the powers of their Street View cameras which normally sit perched above a fleet of Google-bannered cars. The Art Project team at Google developed an indoor-version of the 360-degree Street View camera and set it upon a trolley they could wheel through different exhibits and collections.

Since 2011, The Art Project has been a massive but quiet success. The collection now covers 151 museums from 40 different countries, but it might be one of Google’s biggest capture-the-world initiatives that is seldom seen by the public. And maybe that’s why it took someone like Spanish artist Mario Santamaría to find the Art Project’s private collection.

Museums are covered in mirrored surfaces and when the silver-clad androids spin their photographic heads they occasionally capture their own reflections. Santamaría’s collection “The Camera in the Mirror” documents these phantom photographers as they skulk about the most prized places in the world.

Eerie machines quietly watching everything.


Mario Santamaria

Commentary Ticker

  • Google Glass Lets You Take Photos With Your Brain
    July 12, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    If you haven’t heard, electroencephalograms (EEGs) have been getting better. Way better. Artificial limbs and even video game controllers are utilizing the non-invasive brain-wave monitoring method to guide computers by thought. Now English startup This Place has developed a way to bring the technology to Google Glass, allowing Google’s wearable to read your mind. Well, […]

  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
    July 4, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    A while ago, Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest, a music-analysis company, took to finding each state’s most distinctive, yet popular, artist in a viral article. Spotify took note, purchasing Echo Nest for their analytical talent. Together, they’ve released a blog post documenting each state’s most distinctively American song creating a patriotic playlist for the […]

  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
    July 2, 2014 | 3:10 pm

    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
    June 24, 2014 | 9:07 pm

    For ages, the shopping mall was as essential to the architecture of suburbia as Levittowns and freeways. But in an era of online shopping, these epicenters of brick and mortar yesteryear are quietly being abandoned across the country. While the U.S. currently has around 1,500, the number may soon shrink, and rapidly, leading to abandoned […]

  • If These Goats Don’t Make You Smile, Nothing Ever Will
    June 22, 2014 | 8:39 pm

    It’s a goat’s world, we’re just living in it. There are some things in the world there simply isn’t enough of: chocolate, puppy dogs, rain forests, flowers, mountains, sunshine, poetry, and goats bouncing around. Despite years of practice, The Airspace has yet to conjure a mountain from the movement of the tectonic plates (five of […]

  • RSSArchive for Commentary Ticker »

Join our mailing list!

Trending on The Airspace