Beijing Art Student Tricks Google Maps into Naming a Street After Him

By Justine Lopez, July 14, 2017

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Four years ago a graduate student at the Central Academy of Fine Arts fashioned a series of authentic-looking street signs and put them up along a no-name road in Beijing. The signs bore his name: Ge Yulu.

The signs were intended to be a part of Ge’s university project, which investigated the idea of inserting his private identity into public spaces. But because Ge’s name contains “lu” (the Chinese word for road) his sign created all sorts of confusion with a number of online maps.

Before too long the road where Ge had installed his signs was being officially referred to as “Ge Yulu” on Apple Maps, Google Maps, Baidu Maps and AutoNavi. This went on for years until the error was finally corrected in 2016.

“Ge Yulu”

"When I went to Beijing, I found that this metropolis had a lot of nooks and crannies," Ge said. "Could 'Ge Yulu' survive in such a nook, in a place people usually ignored? That was at the root of this work, this idea."

"When I first designed the project I merely thought of it as a work of art, and I didn't think that it could actually be the name for the road," he said. "But I realize that this might have affected the appearance of the city, and that it isn't exactly legal."

The road is located in eastern Beijing and measures about 460 meters long. Despite the fact that the street name has been changed, many residents still know the street as “Ge Yulu.”

"None of us knows why the road is called Ge Yulu," one resident said.

[Images via]

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