Google Street View has unintentionally produced some mind-melting artwork, from Jon Rafman’s 9 Eyes collection of surreal scenes, to Kim Asendorf and Ole Fach’s parasite game “The Day Google Street View Stood Still.” These and other works play off Street View’s eerie, stitched-together still panoramas. In Mobile Cyclorama, an app created for tablets and virtual reality headsets, Tijuana-based artist Raúl Moyado Sandoval remixes Street View with the history of 19th century panoramic painting.
A series of six paintings are currently available on the Mobile Cyclorama website. When viewed on the homepage, Sandoval’s digital paintings look like 19th century Impressionistic works and Richard Linklater’s animated film Waking Life. But when seen on Google Street View, a tablet app, or Google Cardboard VR headset, the works take on an otherworldly and immersive quality, as if the paintings—especially #6—have transgressed into our three-dimensional realm. And it’s only by interacting, by moving around, that this visual and spatial sensation can be created.
Sandoval explains that he was inspired by Robert Barker, the inventor of panoramic painting, who displayed his works on gigantic 360-degree cylindrical surfaces commonly called "cycloramas." These structures spread from London to most European cities, offering visitors “immersive” experiences of specific historical events or places like Paris and Constantinople. The back-to-back arrival of photography and film effectively killed the cyclorama, so Sandoval thought he’d resurrect the artistic technology with the help of Street View and make it mobile.
“This mobile web app explores poetic atmospheres of remote sites and pictorial alternative realities depicting the artist personal microcosm,” Sandoval says. “Such pictorial space can only be discovered with the gesture and action of the viewer by moving the device and framing.”
“Mobile Cyclorama allows us a more personal interactive exploration, bringing us closer to the inner worlds and particular figurations of the artist,” Sandoval explains. “Its goal is to extend its vision field to different imaginary realities through a more close and interactive visualization experience.”
Click here to see more of Raúl Moyado Sandoval’s work.