Have you ever wondered what it would be like if we’d place the 21,000 words found in our everyday dictionary with their visual equivalent assembled from whatever shows up first for each word in Google’s image search? Apparently UK artists, Ben West and Felix Heyes, were also intrigued to find out as well; hence the birth of ‘Google’.
The visual dictionary, so appropriately named, is a 1240 page behemoth of JPGs, GIFs and PNGs in alphabetical order.
“We used two PHP scripts my brother Sam wrote for us,” says Ben about the process in an email.The first one takes a text list of dictionary words and downloads each image in sequence, and the second lays them out into columns and outputs a PDF.” The PDF was then printed into a beautiful book – handbound, thumb indexed pages held together in a marbled paper hardcover, the golden Google logo clearly oblivious to whatever internet monstrosities it may contain.
So why would should we bother with this new lexicon? Ben says that it ultimately is whatever you make of it; unfortunately we live in a day and age of shrinking attentions spans, collective media lethargy and hindrances of reference books as opposed to the convenience of Google.
So, if a picture is worth a thousand words (or, better yet, a billion dollars) let’s see just how much this visual dictionary will be worth.
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