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Posts Tagged ‘google image search’

Becoming google

May 23, 2012 Comments off

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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Single image of two

May 21, 2012 Comments off

On Monday, May 21, 2012, a bomber blew himself in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, killing more than 90 people and leaving 222 injured, says Yemen’s defense ministry, according to the BBC.

On youtube, there is a one minute video with the title 21/05/12 – Yemen Suicide Bomb Kills At Least 96 Soldiers. The video, does not show footage of the bombing or the security, paramedic or media responses to the event. It does not show images of blood-covered dead bodies on the asphalt, burning cars, crying witnesses, frantic policemen. Rather, following a Corona Light commercial, it is a silent, still image of a bomb going off in what appears to be a village on the edge of the desert. Half through the video, the image disappears and a text takes its place over a black screen: at least 40 soldiers have been killed in Yemen following a terrorist bombing. The discrepancy between the image and the title, might be due to the difference between the total casualties and the military casualties, leaving a total of 50 civilian deaths. What is significant about this video, is not the information that it is sharing, but rather the way that it is relaying this information. It recalls conceptual art strategies of media displacements, using one medium to address the other, here a photograph as video, a text as a still image and video. A picture of a bombing, here becomes a symbol for bombing, no matter what is the source and the context of the image. One image of explosion, the video suggests, can be used to visualize other explosions. Curiously, through google image search, it appears to be that the image of the explosion used in the video, is in fact not from Yemen. Rather, its related to the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan by US forces, and among other articles, it accompanies a BBC report on developments towards a new treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs in combat. A treaty that “[t]he US has rejected …, saying the weapons have a place in its arsenal,” according to the BBC, adding that “The charity Handicap International estimates that 98% of those killed and injured by the weapons are non-combatants,” while “27 percent are children,” according to New York Times. While the predator and the victims differ, a single image of explosion encompasses the horror of modern warfare. The video also shows how photograph transfigures from an image to symbol.

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