The trouble comes when we rely, as we increasingly do, on digital representation for most – or even all – of our knowledge about art. This deepens the ‘googlification’ of contemporary life, the mediation of everything from our whereabouts to our spelling by corporations. Though a product like Google Arts & Culture makes documentation of thousands of artworks available to anyone who uses Google, seemingly ‘democratising’ our access to art, it is not neutral; it selects for us and entrenches an overwhelmingly European narrative of art history, as well as a contemporary culture that has no incentive to question this. In this respect, Google is another gatekeeper of culture, shaping discourse just as museums, curators, collectors, and patrons have for centuries. The difference between Google and a museum, however, is that Google is at your fingertips. Its influence is far wider than that of any museum, no matter how popular.

Scripted Engagement.  Anthea Buys 31.03.20

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