“Captured by an Algorithm” presented by Brueckner


Presentation Title:

  • Captured by an Algorithm



  • Captured by an Algorithm is a commemorative plate series that looks at romance novels through the lens of the Amazon Kindle Popular Highlight algorithm. A passage in a Kindle e-book becomes a Popular Highlight after a certain number of people independently highlight the same passage. Popular Highlights show up as underlined when reading the book on Kindle. Each plate features one Popular Highlight from a romance novel and a landscape generated by running Photoshop’s Photomerge algorithm on romance novel covers. Over seventy thousand individual acts of highlighting were used to determine the content for this work telling the story of the loneliness, grief, vulnerability, and discontent felt by the readers. This work reveals a glimpse of a positive, anonymous social network emerging unintentionally through this Kindle feature. The project draws attention to this existing example of collective social support to change society’s vision for the future of social technologies.