Technology giant Google is launching a new project to make urban art accessible to everyone through an online street art gallery.
The idea is to help preserve an ephemeral art form which often disappears as soon after it is created.
For the past three years, Google’s Cultural Institute has been tracking artwork across the globe.
“One year ago, we decided to bring Street Art Sao Paolo on the platform and we saw a lot of interest from partners, from users, and people were like ‘This is amazing stuff, why we haven’t seen it before?’. ‘Well, you haven’t seen it before because either you can’t find street art easily or it is removed’, and that is where technology can play an even greater role,” said Amit Sood, head of the Google Cultural Institute.
The project has so far assembled some 5,000 works from around the globe and around 100 on-line exhibits of photos and videos from museums in 15 different countries.
Using Google’s Street View technology, users can wander around in virtual 3D space and actually enter some of the locations in order to fully explore them.
“The idea of this partnership with Google and this virtual exhibit is first of all to offer variety, to show the work of artists who emerged in the ’80s but also the work of younger, influential artists, who are 25 today, and do completely different things, like, for example Portuguese artist Vhils who works with jackhammers. It’s the opposite of using stencils, so instead of adding material, he removes it, the result is quite unique,” explained Magda Danysz, president of MoSA – the Museum of Street Art – a Google Street Art project partner.
The Street Art Project is also a global showcase for artists whose work is normally only seen by a limited number of people.
“This platform will help make street art more credible as the movement of our generation, so it really gives a perfect platform for all of us to be seen by everybody,” said Matthieu Dufour, a French artist living in London.
Users can also become “spotters” and contribute to the project by uploading their own street art photos using the hashtag #StreetArtProject.