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Jia Zhang (designer)
Anezka Sebek (thesis advisor)
Barbara Morris (thesis advisor)
Christopher Kirwan (thesis advisor)
Ethan Silverman (thesis advisor)
Ben Bacon (thesis advisor)




As traditional classification systems give way to new forms of organization and coordination, interfaces have come to dominate our everyday lives. Classification have become various and open, and no longer resides in the traditional system, but in the process of mediation and the interface itself. As a result, media consumers rely on interfaces to filter, prioritize, and simplify information. The search engine is one such interface that has become so ubiquitous that it is no longer "safe" to question its objectivity. Often, in order to answer our daily questions through the use of interfaces, we must ignore entirely the question of objectivity in them.

This project explores two problems, how Internet users attribute objectivity to the search engine and how our behavior could potentially affect the structure and navigation of Internet content in the future. The former question involves the analysis of classification systems, the concept of the echo chamber, interface design, differentiation between algorithmic neutrality and objectivity, as well as various aspects of information design. The second question is addressed through the presentation of content, and is more personal in nature. The analytical and design processes are then combined to form the final body of work.

This project aims to produce a group of instruments in the form of video, print and web based interfaces through which the intent of an Internet searcher is reoriented to include the conflicting objectivities within the answers given by the search engine.

Basing the core of my design experiments on the Google search, this project also reflects a personal interest and attention to the intentions of Google, an entity that has so effectively penetrated our cultural language.

An important part of the methodology also involves the process in which the experiments are approached, from observation and discourse. The initial ideas of this project were formulated through conversation. Subsequently, each design experiment has been based on an observation made during the ongoing research.



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