Emilio Chapela’s Ask Google Series
In the Fall of last year, Ottawa’s Gallerie SAW Gallery curated Emilio Chapela’s Ask Google series. In this series, the 33-year-old Mexican artist uses Google Search as a source for tapping into the collective unconscious of the internet.
What does tapping into the collective unconscious of the internet mean? Often when you type a sentence or a set of keywords into Google Search, Google responds to these prompts with a list of auto-suggested search terms. For example, I just began to type in chicken, and only having entered the letters c-h-i-c-k, the list of suggestions pictured above appeared. These suggestions are generated by the collective of previous Google searches performed by previous Google-users. The suggestions represent the most commonly-searched terms, and, in turn, reflect the attitudes, concerns, interests, and opinions of the collective Google-using community. When you think about how many people around the world are using Google every day, this project gets a little mind-blowing.
Chapela has entered a series of prompts into Google Search, and displays the auto-suggest results. In this way, his series serves to examine the various ideas that surround his specific search terms, while simultaneously demonstrating how powerful a resource Google is, and providing an image of what the collective unconscious of the internet might look like.