The Paleontology of Chris Wildrick is Overrated: Dinosaur Search, originally proposed in billboard format for the Indianapolis airport in 2005 in response to a call for installation art on the airport's exterior grounds; finally created in iTouch format, Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, NY, in 2010


Dinosaur Search is installed on an iTouch. It uses an app that basically does a Google Image Search for the word "dinosaur," then shows every image that comes up in association with that word in slideshow format. Each image is shown one by one, in order of popularity, until it exhausts the entire set of images.

In August 2010, a Google Image Search for the word "dinosaur" brings up about 8.8 million responses. Shown for 3 seconds each (this is the automatic rate at which the iTouch app cycles through the images), for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would run through all of the images in a little over 300 days.

In essence, this project literally shows the full gamut of the world of dinosaur visual culture. However, just like with the real culture, it can only be appreciated in little chunks. The complete run of images is impossible for anyone to watch in its entireity; all anyone can get is glimpses into the anatomical images, the cartoon images, the book illustrations, the toy packaging, the TV ads, the pictures of the band Dinosaur Jr., pictures of senior citizens ironically captioned "three old dinosaurs," and so on.

This project can be easily installed on your own computer by downloading the free program CoolIris. This is a different program from the one on the iTouch but works in the same way. Just type "dinosaur" in the field, and you have your own branch of Dinosaur Search! The CoolIris version (which only works for computers, not mobile devices) even lets you control how quickly the images cycle through, so you could get through all the pictures in a mere 100 days!


Documentation:

A few stills from Dinosaur Search in action:

 

A brief (0'15") video of Dinosaur Search in action:

 

 

You can also download a PDF of the poster shown at the top of this page, which explains the project in even more detail:

 

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