porcelain plates, Kindle Popular Highlights from popular romance novels, scanned romance novel covers, Photoshop's Photomerge algorithm
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 along with the number of people who highlighted that passage. Each commemorative plate features a Kindle Popular Highlight from a romance novel and a landscape generated by running Photoshop’s Photomerge algorithm on scanned romance novel covers. Over seventy 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. This ongoing project draws attention to this existing example of collective social support to change society’s vision for the future of social technologies.
This multi-year, ongoing project incorporates the content of 100+ different romance novels as input (more are always being added).
Though only a handful of books are recognizable in each plate, the input into each plate is all of the 100+ books. See the full list