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Unreal Estate (2020)
After ‘Valentina 170167’, ‘Binary Bodies’ and ‘Edge’, Manuel Luís Cochofel is making a new foray into digital universes, this time photographing the streets of Germany on Google Street View from his computer.
Anyone looking to see German roads through Google Street View will soon realize that almost none have been photographed! All of Germany is a large desert island, in the middle of the intricate roads mapped and photographed by Google in all neighboring countries and the rest of Europe. Only the roads that make up and surround some of its big cities are.
The reason, apparently, is related to its own history, where two political police (in the Third Reich and in the GDR) were constantly raiding, controlling, manipulating and oppressing their citizens. Thus, any question related to breach of privacy, always finds strong and natural opposition on the part of the German people.
The European Union is the place, worldwide, with more data protection and privacy rules. And within the European Union, Germany is the country that stands out the most in this very current issue, for the reasons mentioned above. Companies like Google and Facebook have always encountered legal problems in Germany, as their free internet almost always collided with one law or another to protect the freedom of each German citizen.
In 2010 Google was forced to defocus anyone's real estate who requested it. Thus, of the few roads mapped by the American giant, most of its dwellings are nothing more than ghosts that haunt the visible landscape. Eventually drawing even more attention to these spaces than if no intervention had been made, contrary to the intentions of their owners…
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