When we look for let’s say particular kind of homey Alaskan looking hotelroom pictures, there is no way of describing it so that Tumblr understands what we mean. But there is a certain feel to these photo’s we’re talking about, and they’re very abundant on the website. At the time of creating this project it was very difficult to find new interesting posts and people to follow, so for this project Laura Macchini and I created an application for which we decided to match images based not on similarity found in background, texture, color or perspective, and to abandon the keyword in total.
The Tumblrsaurus works in a browser and has a mainpage where a user can insert his/her username and click submit. After this you will be lead to another page, where on the left a slideshow of your own collection is visible, and on the right 3 other users are visible, with their latest 10 photo posts shown in a column (so, three columns are shown on the right). These three users have a collection that is an ultimate match to yours. At first glance, each individual picture does not have too much in common with the other pictures (colours, subjects, shapes might be of a totally different kind), but each Tumblr user has a specific taste in pictures, which makes their collection as a whole unique and cohesive. Tumblrsaurus is designed to find matching interests based on communication (as opposed to keyword search or image comparison), therefore it finds matching collections and images that somehow seem to have something to do with each other, even though one picture could be featuring a sparkling horse and the other a nuclear disaster.
The script that is triggered after pressing submit is key to this: it indexes all your previously posted photo posts, your ‘collection’ so to say. Each post has ‘notes’ attached to it (all the reblogs and likes of this post). The script puts all these connections between other users and you into a database and determines with whom you’ve interacted the most.
Through the Tumblrsaurus I wanted to compare image collections. Unlike music, which is already labeled, established, has a background story, etc, the origins of these images are for the most part completely unknown. It is so uncanny that these loose images on the web can be pinned down to something so ungraspable and indescribable. The photos in the collection all have something in common, but its mostly a feeling, they share the same elements, but I couldn’t say that collection one all has black and white pictures or the other collection has a war theme. It’s all a mix, and it’s up to the person to decide what fits in their collection, and that’s ultimately what shows in this project: the hand picked choices of people, which cannot be put into keywords, colours, shapes, or other regular image comparisons.