Google Street View @ Galeri Titikmerah
At Publika's Art Row, the papu x titikmerah pop-up store provides a lengthy distraction, as its wonderful wall of prints and swag merchandise offer much to see. Mei Kei Ho's sterile take of "Pendidikan Malaysia" is exhibited steps away at Galeri Titikmerah, along with small paintings by Lina Tan taken from "Google Street View". Lina's re-creations of dated images seen on a screen, composed from moving images taken from a car, present a multilayered reality that informs our daily digital experience. Its bright colors and overlapping brushstrokes draw my visual attention, while the pictures itself invoke a long reflection about the ontology of a Google Street View image. A real place is memorialized and validated, by a tech behemoth executing a mapping exercise. This mechanical act is potentially unethical, yet do I second-guess when I type-search a location that I have been to before?
The artist's selected locations are seemingly random, although the paintings can be loosely grouped into three. The first group features buildings in downtown Kuala Lumpur, where architecture take precedence over people and transportation, that occupy the source images. Relatively close takes of buildings - Istana Budaya, The Exchange 106 under construction, a corner-lot warehouse in SS4 - form a second group. A third collection of paintings depicting highways, or buildings seen from elevated roads, are my favorites. Being a regular driver and Google Maps user, it is the long roads where one takes a breather from paying attention to the phone's navigation voice-over. These are the times where the scenery outside is a bit clearer, even if there's not much to see. Google provided this opportunity for me to look, and it is only logical, that I resonate with Google's image of that journey.