Aaron Swartz, Taryn Simon: Image Atlas

  • ©2012 - ongoing, Aaron Swartz and Taryn Simon, Image Atlas


    Image Atlas

Artist(s) and People Involved:


Creation Year:

    2012 - ongoing


    Digital artwork

Artist Statement:

    Image Atlas is a minimalist work that raises complex questions about language and translation, socio-cultural differences and communication and information technologies. The internet user accesses a sparse black page with a search bar and two options for sorting the results, either alphabetical order or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The results of his or her search are lists of the most popular images according to local search engines. These images are associated with 20 countries, from Afghanistan to the United States.

    As a remediation of the traditional atlas, the work encourages a reflection on the organization of knowledge and its accessibility. It reveals the claim to objectivity and the Eurocentric bias of the traditional atlas while unveiling the ideological filters of search engines. Image Atlas decompartmentalizes the web by bringing these images together on the same page and encourages a comparative look that is both political and playful. The simplicity of the interface appeals to internet users who can enjoy the differences in the meaning of a word or its differing interpretation.


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