Street Artist Paints Massive Error Message In Google Protest

MTO, We Live on Google Earth, painted for the Memorie Urbane 2015 Street Art Festival in Gaeta, Italy. Photo: MTO.
MTO, We Live on Google Earth, painted for the Memorie Urbane 2015 Street Art Festival in Gaeta, Italy. Photo: MTO.

The French street artist MTO’s latest mural criticizes Google’s control over the access to information in the digital age, reports Fusion.

The 125-meter-long (471 foot) mural was painted by the artist as part of the Memorie Urbane 2105 Street Art Festival in the Italian town of Gaeta. The artwork, titled We Live on Google Earth, reads “Google Error 404 – Mural Not Found.”

MTO, <em>We Live on Google Earth</em>, painted for the Memorie Urbane 2015 Street Art Festival in Gaeta, Italy. Photo: Flavia Fiengo.

MTO, We Live on Google Earth, painted for the Memorie Urbane 2015 Street Art Festival in Gaeta, Italy.
Photo: Flavia Fiengo.

The mural is accompanied by a mock newspaper article on a nearby advertising billboard which is dated Friday May 22, 2020, and reads “Computer Says No” and “First Case of Artistical Censorship By Google Corp.”

The work is meant to criticize Google’s plans to catalogue street art from around the world, an initiative that the company introduced last year. The artist argues that street art’s inherent perishability is a crucial part of its global appeal and must be maintained. “How many murals have you actually seen lately?” he asked.

MTO, <em>We Live on Google Earth</em>, painted for the Memorie Urbane 2015 Street Art Festival in Gaeta, Italy. Photo: MTO.

MTO, We Live on Google Earth, painted for the Memorie Urbane 2015 Street Art Festival in Gaeta, Italy.
Photo: MTO.

The artist also aims to spark a dialogue over the increased censorship of street art worldwide and hopes to alter the perception of graffiti as vandalism. For example, Luis Castañeda, mayor of Lima, Peru, recently ordered all graffiti in the city be covered in yellow paint, the color of his political party.

In Detroit, politicians are introducing new anti-graffiti legislation which would allow officials to fine property owners for failing to remove graffiti from their buildings in an effort to change the city’s reputation as a graffiti hot spot.


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