Pascal Rabaté’s Street View is a fascinating art object, a creative take on storytelling that uses format to drive the reader’s attention. It’s an accordion book, a set of painted double-page spreads between two cardboard boards that can be read through one way, showing daytime scenes, and then flipped over to see the evenings. Each sheds new light on the others.
Each image is a straight-on shot of four buildings. As in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, we watch the inhabitants across the street as they go about their business. The Hitchcock reference is quite intentional, since a bald, pudgy man in a dark suit appears in the first image, and one of the “characters” is having his own film festival that includes Vertigo and North by Northwest.
Street View is Where’s Waldo? for adults, a fascinating puzzle that rewards the attention paid to it. You can take in the scene as a whole, or follow just one or two people through the sequence. I found some of the stories — a painter and his model, an unhappy couple — quite easy to comprehend, while others I’ll have to come back to and read again. (The publisher provided a review copy.)