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. 

For more information, visit Emilio Chapela’s personal blog, and read the curatorial statement from SAW’s Ask Google exhibit. 

- Melissa Daly-Buajitti

He traces the fleeting.     

Emilio Chapela is an artist concerned with the collective – though not in the obvious sense. Through installation, sculpture, drawing and film, Chapela captures the collectivity of encounters. He enables the systems that are already active – notably Google – and renders still information in the process of dissemination. 

Read the profile of artist Emilio Chapela.


What is space?

The video portrays images of the space extracted from a Google search for the word “space" 
while a computer voice reads the Wikipedia article for "space”.
The definition is very abstract -and inaccurate- which contrasts with the collection of very common
images about the outer space: Defining space becomes impossible. 

- Emilio Chapela


Emilio Chapela Pérez (México City 1978)

Seascapes. 2003-2005. Polaroid.

Saporo, Victoria. 2003. Polaroid.

These pictures are a collection of “seascapes” made by photographing different beers form several parts of the world, in order to create abstract images that resemble horizons on the sea. The use of polaroid film enhances the contrast between the indexical nature of photography and the abstract “pictoric” look of the images.

Sentí necesario hablar más de Emilio Chapela por los que no lo conocían. Más de su obra en www.emiliochapela.com