Text Trends (2008)

Text Trends deals with the spectacularization of information. Using Google data it explores the vast search data of its users. The animation takes the content generated by search queries and reduces this process to its essential elements: search terms vs. frequency searched for over time, presented in the form of a line graph

The viewer watches the animation plot out the ebb and flow of a series of search terms generated over the last four years by internet users around the world. Pairs of words such as ‘now and later’, ‘summer and winter’ play out matter-of-factly, with all the passion of a market index. Instead of the hyper-interactivity of emerging news aggregators and information readers, Text Trends explores our perception of words though topics like time and politics. The work is an investigation into data use, encouraging criticism on how the data is generated; prompting the question what does ...

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Text Trends deals with the spectacularization of information. Using Google data it explores the vast search data of its users. The animation takes the content generated by search queries and reduces this process to its essential elements: search terms vs. frequency searched for over time, presented in the form of a line graph

The viewer watches the animation plot out the ebb and flow of a series of search terms generated over the last four years by internet users around the world. Pairs of words such as ‘now and later’, ‘summer and winter’ play out matter-of-factly, with all the passion of a market index. Instead of the hyper-interactivity of emerging news aggregators and information readers, Text Trends explores our perception of words though topics like time and politics. The work is an investigation into data use, encouraging criticism on how the data is generated; prompting the question what does the data actually represent?

In the first 16 months online the animation received 24,600 views. The work has been developed into a new animation dealing with climate change (commissioned by the UCL Environment Institute, 2009).

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