Taking liberties with Google, stats and pop culture your Google search history is art

03 November 2017

Google has a way of sending you down a search spiral when all you wanted to know was what restaurants are great in your neighborhood. 2014 Barclays L’Atelier winner Liberty Battson decided to use Google to use statistics users search most in her debut solo exhibition I bet you wish you did this.

Don’t be deterred - Battson’s art merges tech and culture, making the subject matter relatable to the man on the street. In this exhibition, Battson used the search phrase “statistics about” in Google’s “search suggest” function with every letter of the alphabet. She started this project in November 2015 and gathered data on a local and global scale with the objective to “document a piece of unfolding history.”

The exhibition, which happens at the Absa Gallery, builds on Battson’s previous L’Atelier winning work Odds of an Artist like me. This work is a diptych, which explores the contexts artists find themselves in - and the chances of them finding themselves in specified situations.

Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa’s Art and Museum curator, offered his take on the upcoming exhibition: “The exhibition offers us a glimpse into the current psyche of the global population. It’s fascinating to track the statistics and how world events shaped the lives of online users.”

To see how your Google search history influenced Battson’s art, head over Absa Towers North from the 5th of June 2016 onwards.

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