Digital Futures, the ongoing open platform for displaying and discussing work by professionals working with art, technology, design, science and beyond, is excited to share a new research publication, Search Engine Art, a collaborative effort with artist Gretchen Andrew. Born of a mutual curiosity for how digital and net art practices can be understood, the publication documents nine artists whose works are in some way co-authored by search engines.
In some regard, we are set on inventing as much as defining search engine art. All artists included in this project have practices defined more frequently in terms of other mediums, such as performance for Emily Simpson or moving image for Warren Neidich. Johannes P. Osterhoff considers himself an “Interface Artist” and Gretchen Andrew herself an “Internet Imperialist.” With a traditional medium such as painting we speak in terms of materials, subjects, and histories, but also in the context of other practices. We do not speak of “painting art.” By appending “art” to the software product “search engine” we are referring to art that uses search engines as the subject or medium, within the artistic process, as a tool or the means in which these works become public.
We hope this research is the beginning of the conversation as much about medium specificity as about the increasing chasm between our understanding of search technology and our dependence on it.