Smarter Than a Dog, Faster Than Anything, 2013
image sequence in HD video
Smarter than a Dog, Faster than Anything was made by submitting photographs I have made to the search by image function of the google search engine and asking for it to return both matching and similar images to my original. The slideshow first shows my image, then shows between 8 and 20 of the returned results interspersed with half-second flashes of my original. The similar images used in the slideshow were selected from the first 100 results google provided with the aim of showing the general range. These were then sequenced to neither encourage nor discourage any particular narrative. The service’s failure to match or recognize what the original image depicts is what one ends up seeing in the work, this and the branching ideas that are suggested by the misinterpretations in sequence. What is interesting is how its failure produces a potential other interpretation, not like a human mind would interpret, but something that is closer to a purely visual analysis unencumbered by an interpreting mind. Instead, it is seen by a new kind of interpretive device, it is seen by an algorithm, designed by people but certainly not human. It is an imitation of the human mind and that imitation is being joined to the machine that has come to depict our world: the camera. I’m interested in this moment in 2013 when the machine and the imitation mind are not quite joined, when they usually fail. I guess that they may become more joined in the coming years and if so, I expect this will have a significant impact on the way that images are used and how they provide a kind of control of the world.