SF artists create online gallery of Google shuttle bus art

SF artists create online gallery of Google shuttle bus art

The scene: a protester blocking a miniature white Google shuttle bus, fly swatter in hand.

It’s just one in a series of toylike depictions of street protests in San Francisco that is the creation of two local artists and their sarcastic take on class conflict and urban life in the age of the Internet.

“Streetviews of San Francisco,” a series of dioramas all centered on Google buses created by Matteo Bittanti and Colleen Flaherty, can, appropriately, only be found online.

Their “show” went live Jan. 10 at colleo.org.

The playfulness is plentiful in what Bittanti, a California College of the Arts adjunct professor, and Flaherty, a painter, have created. For one, their website notes that the pieces — not for sale — will be on display at the Concrete Gallery, a virtual space itself. Even the title is an allusion to an option on Google’s online map.

The dioramas, redolent of images from a child’s toy train set, evoke the recent protests and blockades at Google shuttle stops in San Francisco and Oakland, and they span from the Mission district to Twitter’s headquarters on Market Street. Companies have for years chartered shuttles to take workers from various Bay Area cities to their headquarters, mostly on the Peninsula, but have recently become symbols for inequality and the focus of some furor.

All the scenes take place on a model of a laptop, with the tiny bus on a road where the keyboard belongs. Behind it, on screen, is a photo of a street as the backdrop (all taken from Google’s own Streetview).

In one piece, miniature protesters hold signs outside of Twitter’s headqaurters in front of the bus while Google employees sit behind the glass calmly reading, of all things, a newspaper. In between the protesters and the passenger buses stand riot-gear-clad police.

In another, set in the Mission, two black Tesla Roadsters are parked in front of the bus all alone, save for a lone man standing on the sidewalk.

Bittanti, who has lived in San Francisco for about a decade, said the pieces came from what he sees as increasing conflict in cities divided between the rich and everyone else.

But they are also a commentary on how we see the world through the lens of our machines, Bittanti said.

“We perceive reality through a screen,” he said. “There’s this dichotomy between inside and outside. There’s a real world outside that we are disconnected with, even if I have false intimacy with a screen.”Bay Area NewsGoogle busMatteo Bittantitech shuttles

Just Posted

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led a late-game comeback against the Packers, but San Francisco lost, 30-28, on a late field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)
The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers proved to be too much for the Niners in a Week 3 loss to Green Bay. It was San Francisco’s home opener for the 2021 season. (Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers.)
Week 3 NFL roundup: Packers victory over 49ers caps off a stellar Sunday

By Tyler Dunne New York Times Here’s the Week 3 roundup of… Continue reading

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

Most Read