November 25, 2009

Polishness

My latest invention:



I can't claim that this tool is very intelligent. It takes crude measurements based on Google search results and although it is tempting to draw conclusions from this data, this process is far from scientific. It's more scientishtic. And as much as I'm like this to be a work of art, it's not quite there either.

This project takes a particular tactic towards unveiling the meanings of Polishness. I'm as much interested in how Poles understand Polishness as I am in how others project other kinds of Polishnesses onto Poles and Poland.

The most interesting component of this project is the growing database of word pairings that people enter. Binary concepts have long been an unfashionable way of thinking in the fields of sociology, cultural studies and contemporary philosophy, however there is something enjoyable about exploring the tensions between two concepts. Binaries also graph well onto the duotone Polish flag.

Using the main Google database is a way of weighing one's own expectations of Polishness against some kind of mass average. The difference between how we expect concepts to graph and how concepts actually graph becomes its own territory. Perhaps the difference between Google averages and our own expectations of Polishness is the conceptual space that people actively produce in their daily interactions...

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