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Sophia Brueckner at SIGGRAPH Art Gallery

Sophia Brueckner: Captured by an Algorithm (2018)
Sophia Brueckner: Captured by an Algorithm (2018)

Sophia Brueckner’s project, Captured by an Algorithm, is part of this year’s SIGGRAPH Art Gallery. ACM SIGGRAPH is an international community of researchers, artists, developers, filmmakers, scientists, and business professionals who share an interest in computer graphics and interactive techniques. The SIGGRAPH conference is one of the premier technology conferences in the world.

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 text along with the number of people who highlighted that passage. Since 2010, I have collected Kindle Popular Highlights from popular romance novels. Each commemorative plate features one of these highlights and a landscape generated by running Photoshop’s Photomerge algorithm on scanned romance novel covers. Eighty thousand individual acts of highlighting were used to determine the content for this work telling the story of the intense loneliness, grief, vulnerability, and discontent felt by the readers. This work reveals a glimpse of a positive, anonymous social network emerging unintentionally through this minor Kindle feature. With this ongoing project I draw attention to this existing example of collective social support in order to change society’s vision for the future of social technologies.

In the SIGGRAPH 2020 Art Gallery, attendees will revel in the experience of an interactive exhibition. Re-investigate this public art collection through the lens of new media that creates learning through ingenuity and exploration. 

The Art Gallery video presentation is available on-demand, allowing registered attendees to watch presentations at their own pace, and formulate questions and discussion topics to be addressed during Q&A sessions, which are scheduled from 24 – 28 August. On-demand content will continue to be available for viewing through 27 October.

Art Gallery | SIGGRAPH 2020