New Media Artist, Toolmaker

SEARCH ENGINE VISION SERIES

 

Search Engine Vision investigates how meaning is defined amongst the masses, explicitly meaning generated in audio-visual languages, such as video. The body of work was inspired by Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs, 1965. The installation has a photograph of a chair, a chair, and the dictionary definition of a chair placed next to one another. Which depiction of the chair is most accurate? What happens if we ask the same of the socially defined chair of the masses? Does a clear definition emerge, or is the meaning of chair transformed or lost?

 

My role of the artist in these works shifts to an aggregator, collector, and/or curator, like the creators of the wonder cabinets of the Baroque era, piecing together found objects and creating new combinations of form and content. By zooming out to see the macro-view of online social structures, I discover new modes of understanding the system in which we live and participate, both online and off. The following works are completed works ranging from 2011-2019.

Search Engine Vision The White House 2000-2018, Single Channel Video, 2018-2019

19min 28sec, 3840 x 2160 4k

 

 

The White House is an icon for democracy in the United States, a symbol that populates our cultural landscape from movies, comedy, video games, and our political now. The following video is a White House constructed from Online debris of eighteen years 2000-2018. In the early years of pre-YouTube, we build our knowledge base from C-Span and book reviews. With the establishment of YouTube 2005 to present, we are presented with a growing number of opinions and viewpoints that eventually give rise to fake news. The ebb and flow of political amnesia and nostalgia work together to fill in our cultural understanding of this icon.

Search Engine Vision "ISIS", Single Channel Video, 2016

6min 31sec, 1920 x 1080 HD

 

Search Engine Vision "ISIS" explores the semiotic shift of language as transient definitions that form organically Online. The first half of the piece starts with one thousand videos of the "Isis Goddess," as a result of a YouTube search. The search all ready contains the terrorist organization ISIS, however when the search is pure "ISIS" a new group of one thousand videos emerges that starts to deconstruct the Goddess ISIS semiotically and in form.

Install at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art for an exhibition titled Future Talk for ArtPrize 8, 2016, the project is supported by the ArtPrize Artist Seed Grants presented by the Frey Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Wallpaper design was developed with support from Spread Art and printed at Detroit Wallpaper. The piece won the Juried Award for Time-Based Media.

 

Comments from the Curator + Live Interview

Search Engine Vision "Buddha", Single Channel Video, 2012

4min 57sec, 1920 x 1080 HD

 

The Buddha is comprised and confronted with one thousand videos of himself. He gazes knowingly upon his western existence online, and he searches for himself among the masses. A conflict between timeless wisdom and the impermanence of a hollow vessel consumed by modern technology.

 

The first one thousand videos while searching "Buddha" on YouTube are downloaded and organized in a grid with After Effects. The output is then mapped onto a 3D model of Buddha and a 2 dimensional plane in MAX/MSP and Jitter via OpenGL objects. Programmed camera movements and positions of the objects are recorded in real-time.

Search Engine Vision "Christ", Single Channel Video, 2014

5min 51sec, 1920 x 1080 HD

 

Jesus Christ is surrounded and made up of the mass representations of the “Christ.” The collection of videos dives into the complexities of the Christian faith in the modern era, both critical and celebratory. Christ confronts his online existence that expands and challenges our notions of his meaning within the masses.

Projecting Buddha, Multimedia Installation, 2013–2017

30 min loop, 1920 x 1080 HD signals

 

The Buddha is comprised and confronted with one thousand videos of himself. He gazes knowingly upon his western existence Online, and he searches for himself among the masses. One video at a time is selected from the collection and is projected upon the Buddha figure. Does the video define Buddha?, or is Buddha lost to the multiplicities of meaning? A conflict arises between  timeless wisdom and the impermanence of an icon consumed by modern technology.

 

This version of Projection Buddha was installed at the Museum of Art for the show The Model of the World in Zhang zhou, China. See catalog of show here.

Projecting Buddha, Multimedia Installation, 2013

30 min loop, 2 synchronous 1920 x 1080 HD signals

 

The Buddha is comprised and confronted with one thousand videos of himself. He gazes knowingly upon his western existence online, and he searches for himself among the masses. One video at a time is selected from the collection and is projected upon the Buddha figure. Does the video define Buddha?, or is Buddha lost to the multiplicities of meaning? A conflict arises between  timeless wisdom and the impermanence of an icon consumed by modern technology.

Search Engine Vision "Chair", Single Channel Video, 2011

5min 50sec, 1920 x 1080 HD

 

Users of online communities create visual languages, and as a collective, I am interested in how they define objects and their meaning that exist within the moment. Search Engine Vision “Chair” organizes the first 1,000 videos of a YouTube search in a grid. The collection plays all at once allowing one to experience “chair”, defined by the masses.

 

SEV "Chair" was inspired by Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs, 1965. The installation has a photograph of a chair, a chair, and the dictionary definition of a chair placed next to one another. Which depiction of chair is most accurate? What happens if we ask the same of the socially defined chair of the masses? Does a clear definition emerge or is the meaning of chair lost?

 

My role of the artist in this works shifts to aggregator, collector, and/or curator, like the creators of the wonder cabinets of the Baroque-era, piecing together found objects and creating new combinations of form and content. As Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs, the work is not about the material or the aesthetic qualities that make it art, but the questions they pose.

© 2009–2019 Eric Souther. All rights reserved.