Google Image Search 911/02 (2002)

by Jo Gray

Coinciding with Google's recent release of the 2002 End of Year Google Zeitgeist, I have put together a collection of 40 discrete Google Image searches, retrieved and archived on September 11, 2002.

Each search word is represented by seven images (located in the top 15 of the Google Image index). The heterogeneous nature of these images concretize Google's reflective capabilities: each image signalling the unique social position and desires of its creator (or, perhaps more aptly in this case, 'namer').

For some, the word "beautiful" is best encapsulated by a landscape painting, for others, a picture of their baby girl or Hollywood actress. A search for the word "dying" can reveal the intimate details of a family tragedy, a great work of art or marketing campaign.

All of which the eye consumes voraciously. Each image occupies two interconnecting positions simultaneously: first as an autonomous image - a ...

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Coinciding with Google's recent release of the 2002 End of Year Google Zeitgeist, I have put together a collection of 40 discrete Google Image searches, retrieved and archived on September 11, 2002.

Each search word is represented by seven images (located in the top 15 of the Google Image index). The heterogeneous nature of these images concretize Google's reflective capabilities: each image signalling the unique social position and desires of its creator (or, perhaps more aptly in this case, 'namer').

For some, the word "beautiful" is best encapsulated by a landscape painting, for others, a picture of their baby girl or Hollywood actress. A search for the word "dying" can reveal the intimate details of a family tragedy, a great work of art or marketing campaign.

All of which the eye consumes voraciously. Each image occupies two interconnecting positions simultaneously: first as an autonomous image - a painting, a piece of text, a photograph or drawing and second as a component smaller than the sum of its parts. All are intimately tied to the WORD.

How do we create meaning from the images our eyes 'read'? Patterns, shapes, peculiarities begin to emerge from the conjoined data.

The following new media presentation is my attempt to halt the Web's traffic on a single day. I have taken a snapshot, if you like, of the pictorial Web on September 11, 2002 - an archive that may be looked upon in years to come.

A more detailed discussion of Google, and indeed the new media piece accompanying it, will be available soon. In the meantime, please send any comments to Jo Gray at jgray@cyllene.uwa.edu.au. This exercise is part of my Ph.D. project at the University of Western Australia.

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