Google Maps Look Like Persian Rugs In These Amazing Photos

04/03/2013 04:19 pm ET

These aren't actually Persian rugs you can throw in your foyer. But artist David Thomas Smith's photographs are certainly inspired by the colorful Middle Eastern carpets.

In an exposition at Ireland's Copper House Gallery, Smith has pieced together thousands of screenshots from Google Maps and created a kaleidoscope-like effect on locales like the Mall of America and Silicon Valley.

"This work draws upon the patterns and motifs used by Persian rug makers, especially the way Afghani weavers use the rug to record their experiences more literally with vivid images of the war torn land that surrounds them," the Copper House Gallery's site says. "This collision between the old and the new, fact and fiction, surveillance and invisibility, is part of a strategy to reflect on the global order of things."

Artists have played on this sort of surveillance before. For a project called "Street Ghosts," artist Paolo Cirio made cutouts of people captured in Google Maps images, and placed the cutouts in the real world where the pictures were taken. But while Cirio hit on an obvious controversy by drawing attention to what he called an "invasive" Google Street View, Smith's work is quieter, more complicated -- and perhaps ultimately more thought-provoking.

Check out the Persian rug-inspired photographs below, and see what you think. The exhibit began on March 21 and runs until April 16.

Google Maps Reinterpreted As Persian Rugs

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