— Montreal (Canada), 1981
Rafman’s work focuses on technology and digital media, and emphasizes the ways in which it distances us from ourselves. He offers a way to look at the melancholy in our modern social interactions, communities and virtual realities from an accessible place of humour and irony. His films and art are hauntingly evocative and utilize extremely personal moments to reveal how pop-culture ephemera and advertising media shape our desires and threaten to define our being.
He’s explored the identities and history of some of our most common virtual worlds— Google Earth, Google Street View and Second Life
Though Rafman rarely takes a moral stance toward the messaging behind his art, it consistently asks us to evaluate what it means to be human in the context of these new and ambiguous digital realms. Jon Rafman celebrates and critiques contemporary culture, while at the same time revealing the origins of modern loneliness and alienation.
An ongoing project of Rafman’s involves a tour around the virtual universe of Second Life, which is hosted by his avatar Kool-Aid Man. The work deals with how users employ creative exploits in order to bring to life an idealized self and entertain sexual fetishes in the virtual world.