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Nov. 11: Carnegie Mellon Artists Use Google Maps Street View Technology for Public Art Project "Street With A View"


Eric Sloss                            
Jeffrey Inscho

Carnegie Mellon Artists Use Google Maps Street View
Technology for Public Art Project "Street With A View"

Art Moves Literally From the Gallery to the Street              

PITTSBURGH—In an innovative integration of art and technology, artists Robin Hewlett (A'04) and Ben Kinsley's (A'08) "Street With A View" project, a collaboration with local actors and community members performing on Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh, is now live on Google Maps and can be viewed online at  
Partnering with the Mattress Factory, a contemporary art space in Pittsburgh, the artists timed various public performances while Google was documenting Sampsonia Way. For one day, artists and citizens turned a small, one-way alley in Pittsburgh's North Side into a dream world, an elaborate montage of spontaneous performance and provocative visual art.
On once-tranquil Sampsonia Way, a monumental statue of a de-feathered chicken loomed behind a fence while a medieval battle of swords and armor played out in the street, and a faux-marathon of local runners sprinted past a mad scientist. A parade, a human bird, a marching band and a pair of firefighters all converged to enact their stories of hope, joy and identity. Local observers inspired by the scene were invited to join in with their own improvisation performances, and in the process, reach out to the world. Captured by Google Maps' street view technology, the event can be seen by viewers everywhere.
"Street With A View" was developed for Kinsley's Master of Fine Arts thesis project. Reaching out to members of Google's Pittsburgh office, the pair was able to coordinate with the Google Maps team to make this project a reality. The Mattress Factory served as home base for the first participants of "Street With A View" on the event day, May 3.
"The Carnegie Mellon School of Art is committed to exploring the intersection of arts and communications technologies. Our students are encouraged to look beyond the gallery and institution to discover and create new audiences for their work in the outside world," says Golan Levin, associate professor of art at Carnegie Mellon and Kinsley's faculty advisor for the project.
Integrating fiction, community storytelling and performance art into the platform of instant-access, 360-degree imaging, the "Street With A View" project explodes the barrier between reality and performance, life and art. It represents communities and artists taking back the power to define themselves and their environments and to use technology as a tool of self-expression.
For more information, please contact Eric Sloss at or 412-268-5765, or Jeffrey Inscho at or 412-231-3169. Google Maps is a trademark of Google Inc.