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Taryn Simon Contraband

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Created during rhizome. org's Seven on Seven conference, Image Atlas is a collaborative project between Simon and the programmer and internet activist Aaron Swartz. Image Atlas "investigates cultural differences and similarities by indexing top image results for given search terms across local engines throughout the world. Visitors can refine or expand their comparisons from the 57 countries currently available, and sort by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or alphabetical order". In an extensive article on the Seven on Seven conference Ben Davis writes that "Simon suggested that the site might cut against 'the illusion of flattening' on the Web, offering some way of recovering a sense of the local. " In a message forum, "jnhasty" described Image Atlas as "an elegant project in that it demonstrated how something as fundamental to web interaction as 'searching' is actually bound and determined by many cultural and political forces. " Curator Lauren Cornell, Adjunct Curator and former Director of Rhizome stated, "The Image Atlas proposes a singular method of retrieving and comparing pictures, to demonstrate the difference in a world supposedly flattened by the forces of the global economy. "



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