To turn something simple and random into something meaningful gifted with form and substance can bring precious satisfaction. In skateboarding, this something might be a bent pole or just a wall. As soon as you put your eyes on it, the glimpse of a movement through space and time comes to your mind. You picture yourself doing your own little special thing right there and unconsciously you’re giving this infinitesimal fragment of your physical environment a new purpose. If you make this vision real, you get that valuable satisfaction and be sure you count among the coolest people on earth from then on. The truly cool ones, top 5%.
As there are limitless possibilities of shaping and adapting what’s around you to your own perception, it can be very entertaining to widen the range. That’s how we come to talk about the street view on Google maps. It offers way more than one may think. I know some skaters use it to find new spots but I have no clue what the street view’s original function is. It must cost loads of money to drive those Google-maps-360°camera-cars through every city in the world. All that for a gimmick? No, the street view is one of the hidden treasures of the world wide web. One of the rare escapes from the boredom of social media, for example.
The street view embodies normality and randomness. The 360° camera captures ordinary streets at random moments of the day. Average people doing regular things outside. And you can’t see their faces (they are blurred), which makes it even more emotionless. Moreover, the camera settings are so basic all the pictures taken over the planet lookalike. But the street view doesn’t care much about aesthetics, it is about raw reality. That makes it so great… I like to think so. The more normal things get, the more anything unusual sticks out.
For a better understanding, I would like to invite you to click on the link below and to spend a few minutes on the streets of Mlada Boleslav. And you should read the instructions first:
Mlada Boleslav is a small city of Central Bohemia, a region of the Czech Republic. As soon as you click, you find yourself on a street with no name, surrounded by parking blocks and you fully experience the flair of Czech suburbia. Now, follow the road straight and observe what’s around you until you reach the next road junction. That’s where the journey ends.
Now let’s venture into the world of street view and into the Czech city of Mlada Boleslav.
To go on to the road junction click here.
And what else did you see?
Did you see that the guy is wearing a Thrasher shirt tailored into a lovely tanktop.
So… You’re virtually going through these streets, it seems like time has stopped and so you can take some time to notice things you wouldn’t see if you were there in real time, caught in the rush of life.
You are looking at all this average stuff, realizing almost every corner of the “Western world” looks alike. Suddenly, you see something that sticks out. Someone flipping a bird to the camera is a classic. Someone picking up his dog’s business as well. If you’re lucky, you come upon a 60-year-old badass wearing a Thrasher tank top in the absolute middle of nowhere. At that moment, the best thing to do is to take a screenshot because you don’t want it to sink into oblivion. There is a good chance for you to be the first web surfer to notice this deviation from the ordinary. And that feels good, so handle the street view with care or it might turn into your major pastime: exploring the streets in order to capture the aberrations of a society that wants to be cast into the mold.
Here are some screenshots from my personal collection that I’ve been widening over the last two or three years. A breathtaking mosaic of impressions from a virtual odyssey, from Skagen (Denmark) to Zadar (Croatia) passing through Miami Beach.
No clue what is happening here. Are they waiting for the school-boat?
No words needed to describe the intimate beauty of this one.
“The man who talked to walls.”
That’s a wolf. Wildlife at it’s finest.
“People in love near the Military Circle.”
True words. Get them and forget them.
I wish I was a little bit taller, an ode to the Deutsch Stylechef.
It’s a done deal.
When your shoes match her zip sweat/ When your zip sweat matches his shoes.
Same blood & fashion sense.
This is my favorite one. (note his face is not blurred)
Text by Franz Grimm
Images by Google Maps selected by Franz Grimm