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The Coolest Art-Tech Project From This Weekend’s Seven on Seven Conference

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Actually, there were a number of truly interesting ideas that came out of’s annual Seven on Seven get-together, which as usual paired various artists with various technologists for day-long brainstorming sessions, the fruit of which were presented yesterday at the New Museum. However, one project stood out, not just because it actually created a prototype that kind of worked, but because it represented a particularly satisfying pairing of art and tech sensibilities: The “Cultural Differences” search engine, hatched by smart contemporary photo-conceptualist Taryn Simon and politically engaged programmer Aaron Swartz.

The idea is very simple: The duo created a Web page where you can search for any term, and see the results of an image search performed for it both in the United States and on local search engines in other countries, thereby visualizing the different ways that concepts get presented to different cultures on the Internet. The result is both pretty thought-provoking, and pretty fun to play around with. Check it out, here.

— Ben Davis

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  1. Too bad no images from Canada.
    Cool project.

  2. Ben,
    Don’t know if you have interacted with Jonathan Harris but this is someone you might want to know. He has been exploring the segway of technology, the Internet and our stories for a number of years. You can learn more about his shared work at and the early project her started at (PC version). Great job by Taryn and Aaron…will they continue to build this concept?

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