The search engine Google, the ambitious project of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, transformed the search for information into a global event. Through the recording of every interaction of its users, Google captures, analyzes, filters and presents big data. The conglomerate Alphabet inc., formerly Google, has almost unlimited possibilities to influence current and future technology development. They are willing to make large investments in research into life sciences, to enable, for example, age reversing and mining on the moon.
This display makes visible that Google/Alphabet clearly has many more interests aside from being an advanced search engine.
“Google empire” is one of the pieces produced by La Loma in collaboration with Tactical Technology Collective for the table “Normal is Boring” displayed as part of the live installation “The White Room” within the exhibition “Nervous Systems: Quantified Life and the Social Question “. The exhibition took place at the “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” in Berlin.
The search for and analysis of all the information was undertaken by data researchers from the Tactical Technology Collective.
The challenge consisted of combining and structuring the different sources of information: investments, acquisitions and revenue since the foundation of the company in 1998 until the beginning of 2016 visualised as an area chart in which the 591 transactions (188 acquisitions and 403 investments) are mapped over the course of time.
Area chart as object
As a physical visualization it was necessary to define a scale based on exponential notation in order to adequately represent three-dimensional quantities (monetary) in a limited space. Otherwise, it would have required a huge space for large sums and a proportionate space for the smallest ones.
The accompanying caption explains how the the size of the slats (wood and acrylic) was defined by the use of 10th power.
The shape of the slats matches the type of expenses (square: acquisitions / round: investments); transparent objects represent unknown amounts; the color code refers to the five categories:
Life science and health
Data and AI
The visualisation bears witness to the broad interests of Alphabet Inc., formerly Google.
This was an experiment in which La Loma translated abstract information into real materials, an arduous and valuable exercise in prototyping and production.
Daniel Theis advised and supported La Loma in this project.