Please don't stand in the middle of the road waiting for me to get you on camera
Aram Bartholl, Petra Cortright, Benjamin Grosser, Joe Hamilton and Pilvi Takala
Curated by Bob Bicknell-Knight
The heat of a shining sun warms my face, slow cars and fast-moving bodies pass by as I make another journey through the city. It’s easy to zone out during these moments of heavy traffic, travelling down from Finsbury Park to Croydon during rush hour. Always a new route, a new side street, a new area to be unearthed and discovered.
People always stare, or attempt to pose nonchalantly as I pass by, some even attempt to chase me down. It’s rare, and always ends soon after it begins. Some people will do anything for their 15 seconds of fame.
It’s almost been three years since I first started, a total of 452 trips, blending into one another to become one long, ongoing expedition. Each day is a new journey, another series of high definition videos, GPS stamped and ready to be stitched together back at base.
I take pride in my work, enabling others to experience the streets of the city from thousands of miles away, relying on my due diligence when planning a trip to the capital. I like telling people about my work, my career. At first it felt like adopting an identity that wasn’t my own, but in reality I just had to be a more confident version of myself, becoming the Google Maps Driver I am today…
Please don't stand in the middle of the road waiting for me to get you on camera is an online exhibition featuring works by five international artists, including Aram Bartholl, Petra Cortright, Benjamin Grosser, Joe Hamilton and Pilvi Takala, curated by Bob Bicknell-Knight. The works presented consider how human beings are increasingly reliant on digital technologies, from navigating through offline environments utilising Google Maps to having a job as a micro-tasker, working for an online service where users pay to have a pretend girlfriend or boyfriend text them. The crafting of digital, online identities, to be monetised and utilised when traversing offline space has become increasingly prevalent due to the rise of social media sites, allowing everybody to be anybody in a world of hypercapitalism.
The exhibition takes its name from a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) with a Google Maps Driver. Throughout the thread the driver details their exploits, from sticking to the speed limit to being harassed at rest stops.