Reverse Search (2020). Four-channel audio installation with video projection; 1:00:00 duration.
Reverse Search explores the coping mechanisms and interpretive schemas that one uses to deal with media saturation – binge-listening, purge-watching, endless scrolling – and the tendency of these modes of engagement toward superstition, paranoia, and conspiracy.
These complicated states are mirrored by the technology itself. Reverse Search was composed by the short-circuiting of algorithms whose purposes are to find likeness and similarity, to sift through the web and rearrange material in patterns. Its musical score is the result of sampling software sorting a vast range of clips and bites, overlooking the differences between drum hits and vocal tics; the clusters of images that compose the video component were spat out by a neural network which by design is incapable of registering the distinction between a face and a fold of leather.
Drawing upon thousands of sounds and images, Reverse Search attempts to shape an overwhelming surplus of data into a coherent composition. The audience is presented with a pool of semi-random stimulus inside of which false connections and perceptual misfires are bound to proliferate; chance, coincidence, and near miss take the place of harmony and synchrony.
Reverse Search asks what it means to always be looking, always be sorting and compiling — and what it might mean to pursue this to its end.