According to the internet
Geekender: Experimental Photo School
According To The Internet
Image-search optimization & the internet as arbiter of definition
Sun 7 May, 14.00
Courtesy Gretchen Andrew
Amazon is a company...and then also a river.
Gray’s Anatomy is a TV show... and then also a medical text.
Conduct an image search (image.google.com) for “amazon” and you are pages down before you come across a reference to the world’s largest river. Instead you see logos and references to one of the world’s most “relevant” companies.
It isn’t that the internet is incorrect in returning these results, but that in doing so it tells us something essential about the way the internet creates definitions, and who is more likely to benefit.
Participants of this workshop will learn the basics of image search engine optimization (SEO) and how the photography and images they create can be better positioned online for discovery and cultural relevancy.
This workshop will consider how the internet is imperially, intentionally, creatively and maliciously used a source of definition and consider what this means for image culture.
Image search in particular sits at the intersection of representation and meaning. When we enter text into the search bar and receive images as results it may appear that endless deferral of meaning, as described by poststructuralism, ends. However, a basic understanding of how image search operations exposes dependance on the same unreliable words. This obscures that the inherent problems of language have actually been exacerbated.
Now that the internet, through the lense of search engines and the optimization algorithms they operate with, is the arbiter of definition, interesting things are happening…
Gretchen Andrew (born in California, 1988) started painting in San Francisco after becoming convinced that the internet can teach you anything. Using the search engine as a medium, Gretchen manipulates search results to bring attention to how the internet answers questions, including research into “How To” videos. Her search-based practice is accompanied by a painting practice used as a source for images with which to replace existing results. She has completed projects or exhibitions with The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, The V&A Museum, The British Film Institute, The Lumen Prize for Digital Art, The British Arts Council, The White Building, Ace Hotel, The London Film School, and Whitcher Projects. She works in London with the artist Billy Childish.