Monday, 13 September 2010

Project Onomatopee: "Culture" (August 2010)

Project Onomatopee's theme for August was "Culture", and below is my submission.

This image was more-or-less made at the last-minute, and if I had spent a bit more time on it then I'd probably have made the layout more minimalist in order to make the message clearer. But you learn from your mistakes I suppose...

From the moment the theme was announced (at the beginning of August) I always planned on doing something about the death of culture by making something like:
- a collage of corporate logos;
- a picture of the solar system with a massive McDonald's sign sticking out from Earth;
- a photoshopped picture of people from less-developed countries fighting over second-hand designer clothing;
- or simply a text-based poster saying something like "Kill Culture - Just Do It" to portray how big corporations and the rise of the Internet have made almost everything seem local in the 21st Century.

Despite all those ideas, I never felt entirely happy about what the finished image might look like, so I constantly delayed the project until the last couple of days - at which point I felt as though I just had to get something, anything, done.

At that late stage I decided to see what a Google Image Search made of the term "culture"... The results seemed very random and not at all like I had expected, which actually turned out to be quite useful!

It seems as though Google, for the past decade or so, has had the answer to anything you could ever think to ask: But if an Image Search for "culture" didn't produce the results I had expected then perhaps I was correct to think that culture is dead (or at the least is dying).

From this I remembered about the infamous Racist Google picture that appeared last year showing a Google search result for "White People Stole My Car" returning the query "Did you mean: Black People Stole My Car?"

I decided that for my Project Onomatopee submission about culture I could create a similar Google picture, whereby a search result for "What is culture?" asks if you meant "What WAS culture?"... The theory being that my "culture is dead" statement from earlier would now be 'proven' by an omniscient Google that doesn't recognize the present tense of the question "What is culture?" because culture has been dead for a long time and would therefore be correctly asked in the past tense of "What WAS culture?".

I probably prefer that final idea to any of my earlier concepts, however my rushed execution of the imagery has resulted in a poor final product - one where the message gets lost within a bunch of random images from the Google search result.
Were I being boldly artistic, I would have made my submission a plain white page with only the Google logo, the search box (containing the phrase "What is culture?"), and the Google query ("Did you mean: What WAS culture?"). However as usually happens, I was not brave enough to stick with that bold image, and ended up keeping the realistic image of the full (albeit cropped) screenshot from my Google search.

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