Google is the main hub of an emerging data-driven world. It is a beast with many faces, impossible to grasp all at once and growing new limbs every day. It is also the name of many contradictions: a centralized traffic control in the (supposedly) horizontal and distributed Internet; a supporter of data openness and accessibility that relies on secret algorithms; and a ranking technology that is based on finding out popularity while it simultaneously determines it. “Google Variations” is a series of approximations of some of these diverse aspects of Google. It is a collection of formal and conceptual micro-experiments, a fly-eyed view of an entity so pervasive that it tends to be invisible while it radically changes our lives. “Google Variations” employs multiple strategies to de-naturalize our relationship with the brand, the corporation and the technology.
“Google Variations“, by Leonardo Solaas, is a 2010 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. for its Turbulence website. It was made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.