Timothy Sherman – Looking Outwards 3 – 100.000.000 Stolen Pixels

by Timothy Sherman @ 4:11 am 12 January 2011

100.000.000 Stolen Pixels is a project by Kim Assendorf in which a web crawler, starting from 10 urls, searched pages for images and hyperlinks. Hyperlinks were added to it’s list of urls to search, and images had a 10×10 square cut from them, all of which were assembled into a massive, google-maps-viewable mosaic comprising 100,000,000 pixels from 100,000,000 images. It’s a beautiful and bewildering amount of data, and it’s almost like staring into a void of noise. When you begin to pick out patterns, such as the oft-repeated image of a pencil, perhaps from blog software of some kind or wikipedia, the mosaic becomes easier to view. The massive 6-degrees-of-kevin-bacon game with the internet is perhaps more intriguing than the visuals, but this is also one of the projects flaws. I found the url log even more intriguing then the image mosaic because I could pull understandable data from it – the mosaic, while astounding, gives little clues to what the images are of originally or where they came from. If I could, say, click on a square and be told what webpage it was downloaded from (perhaps with a link to the original image?), that would push this way further in terms of time that can be spent exploring this massive collection and how rewarding spending that time is.

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