Paolo Cirio Street Ghosts 2012–ongoing printed paper, site-specific dimensions vary

Italian artist Paolo Cirio is interested in the people unwittingly photographed by Google streetview. In his Street Ghost series, he collects screenshot images of people caught standing or walking on the streets, prints them life-size and installs them in the spot where they were originally captured. He describes these people as ‘ghosts’. They seem to haunt streetview – they are simultaneously present and absent, with their face blurred and their bodies frozen in mid-movement.

Cirio has made Street Ghost installations in New York, London, Toronto, Berlin and Hong Kong. For this exhibition, he has installed some Street Ghosts on Harris St where our gallery is located, a very busy city street near Central Station in Sydney. We have been wondering if the people he has captured are members of our community. Are they our neighbours? Could they be students of UTS, or of Ultimo TAFE down the road? Perhaps they work at the ABC, or at the big building site nearby. Perhaps they have even been to our gallery before.

  • Have you ever looked at your house or your school on Google street view? Are there aspects of the neighborhood you recognize? Are there others that you don’t? Maybe it has changed since the photograph was taken. Take a photo of the same area on a camera. Put the two images next to each other and see if you can spot any differences
  • Look up your house, school or another place you know on Google street view. Are there people there? See if you can find a person, a ‘streetview ghost’ nearby. Write a story about who they might be, and what they might be up to. What are they thinking about? How do they feel?


Do you like Paulo Cirio’s street art? Have a look at a different project by Robert Hewlett and Ben Kinsley here


Artist Carlo Zanni ‘made’ this self portrait of him walking his dog using Google Streetview. Have a close look at the photos on his site as he documented the streetview images, but after some time streetview updated the photograph of the area. Now ‘Self Portrait With Dog’ looks like this


Why do you think Google streetview updates its site? What does that mean for Carlo Zanni’s work? Think about what other art forms are impermanent and those that are considered to be permanent. Take a piece of paper and draw up two columns. List all the features of impermanent art and all the features of art that is considered to be permanent and compare them.