Search Engine Vision “ISIS” explores the semiotic shift of language as transient definitions that form organically online. The piece opens with examples of the first 1,000 video results from a YouTube search of “ISIS goddess.” Because the search contains the word “ISIS,” the search engine could understand the keyword as a reference to the terrorist organization. Perhaps surprisingly, the results pertain mostly to Isis the goddess. When the search is singularly “ISIS,” the first 1,000 video results subvert the original search of “ISIS goddess” semiotically, and thus represent the terrorist organization. The resulting compilation examines the momentary ways in which language and definitions are understood, formed, and altered by the logic of search engines.


Eric Souther is a video and new-media artist who explores the ritualistic spaces of media and develops interactive systems for real-time manipulation of time-based media. His work has been featured nationally and internationally at venues such as the Museum of Art and Design in NYC, Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY and the ART DATA LAB in Beijing. His work has been screened in The Outcasting: Fourth Wall Festival in Grangetown, UK, Cronosfera Festival in Alessandria, Italy, and the Galerija 12 New Media Hub in Belgrade, Serbia. He received his M.F.A. in Electronic Integrated Arts from Alfred University. He is an Assistant Professor of New Media at Indiana University South Bend.