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Becoming google

May 23, 2012

Google image search is topical. You put in a word, it gives you an image. You enter ‘plastic cup’ it gives you plastic cups, you enter ‘blobs on Mars’ it lists you images of blobs on Mars. The database is constantly growing, “Egyptian presidential elections,” did not generate images as much as it does today. The google images’ search result has the ‘look of content’, it has the appearance of intentionality, a hint towards conventions that assign meaning to taxonomy. But conducting searches is a movement of subjectivity, that gives form to intentionality by inhabiting the format of ‘results’, while modifying the methodology of grouping.

Image from Dina Kelberman’s “I’m Google”

I’m Google, is Dina Kelberman’s tumblr stream of images that follow a formal movement where batches of pictures and videos seamlessly follow one another, as we move from clouds to burning bushes to parking lots to wigs. It is formal repetition that moves toward content, and aggregation is not a collection of the same. One wolf is different from a pack of wolves. The tumblr while inhabits the look of generated results, it gradually makes visible a flow of form that plays the role of ‘the look of content’ like an old man who plays the role of a young woman acting the role of a young woman. It is through this second layer that the visual aggregation performs content. But on the other hand, the I’m Google, shows how in fact the medium itself prompts subjectivity through its application, and as such it points to the rearrangement of visual experience. This second turn becomes significant while looking at topical hoardings online, in particular those that follow a certain ideological or political intention. For instance, browsing through more than 8000 videos that the SyrianDaysOfRage youtube page has uploaded since July 2011, one cannot fail to recognize certain formal patterns. It is through the application of youtube to the images that these forms become visible, while the pre-established content hinges upon the aggregation that followed.

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