You Probably Think This Search Is About You

We've all done it, haven't we? What is often referred to as the 'vanity search' can take many forms. Whether you're just curious how many MySpace users share your name or you're obsessed with the number of people citing your blog, the internet search for one's self has become a common, if private pasttime. American performance artist G.H. Hovagimyan makes the process public in his 'instant web collage' aptly titled 'Vanity Search.' Created for the online collection, Computer Fine Arts, the piece is programmed to constantly search for 'gh hovagimyan,' using each of the major search engines currently operating online, including image-finding bots. The site automatically flashes through the real-time results of the queries, raising questions about the eventual entropy of both the information sought and the corporations in place to track it. The artist categorizes the project as 'Neo-Fluxus information art,' and the 'Neo-' might arguably refer to the new conditions of life in search engine culture--including constant surveillance, imbalanced attention spans, the blurred distinction between public and private, and the bittersweet possibility of being 'internet famous.' - Marisa Olson